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Report Card 2010

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Harvard University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Harvard University

School details:

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $26,000 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Enrollment: 18,862

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
A -
Harvard’s efforts are driven by three commitments, including a set of sustainability principles and a greenhouse gas reduction goal. The Office for Sustainability employs 22 full-time staff. The greenhouse gas reduction implementation process engages over 130 university administrators, staff, faculty and students. In addition, a student advisory group and a faculty sustainability advisory committee oversee sustainability efforts.
Harvard’s greenhouse gas reduction goal calls for a 30 percent reduction below 2006 levels by 2016. The sustainability office administers over a dozen conservation programs. The Green Campus Loan Fund offers low interest loans to facilities departments for conservation projects. The campus has four solar photovoltaic arrays, three solar hot water arrays, and a rooftop wind installation.
Dining services spends approximately 25 percent of its budget on locally produced items and, depending on the season, 35 to 70 percent of produce offered is grown locally. The composting program covers pre- and postconsumer food waste and waste from many large events. Source reduction programs include a surplus center and donation stations at move out.
Harvard's green building guidelines require LEED Silver certification for projects costing over $5 million. The Allston campus and the business school have both committed to meet LEED Gold standards. The Green Campus Loan Fund has provided low-interest financing to 175 energy efficiency retrofits on campus.
The sustainability office distributes information during new-student orientation. Resource Efficiency Program Reps teach sustainable living and run the Green Cup conservation competition. Harvard has 15 environmental groups, including the Environmental Action Committee, which helped lead the campaign for a university-wide greenhouse gas reduction commitment.
Harvard has achieved a drive-alone rate of 15 percent. Employees receive a 50 percent discount on transit passes. The university partners with a car-sharing program and discounts the membership fee. The purchase of bikes and accessories for administrative and academic offices is subsidized. In addition, the undergraduate Environmental Action Committee has begun a pilot student bike program.
The university makes a list of endowment holdings available only to trustees and senior administrators. Detailed proxy voting records on social responsibility issues are available to the public and sent to individuals upon request.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy companies.
The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) is composed of four faculty members, four students, and four alumni. The ACSR makes recommendations on votes involving social issues to the Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, which is responsible for voting the university’s shares.
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