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September 29, 2008
Sustainable Endowments Institute Releases College Sustainability Report Card
    by Robert Kropp

Annual survey encourages commitment to sustainability, including investment priorities, shareholder engagement, and endowment transparency by colleges with largest endowments.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute has released its annual College Sustainability Report Card for 2009. The Report Card grades 300 colleges in the U.S. and Canada with the largest endowments, which range from $150 million to $35 billion.

The Report Card grades colleges in nine categories: Administration, Climate Change & Energy, Food & Recycling, Green Building, Student Involvement, Transportation, Endowment Transparency, Investment Priorities, and Shareholder Engagement.

Some of the key findings include: 35% of schools currently have endowment investments in renewable energy, 23% of schools make proxy voting records available to the campus community, 1 in 3 schools make lists of endowment holdings available to the campus community and just 1 in 9 schools has an advisory committee on shareholder responsibility.

According to a poll conducted by the Princeton Review, sixty-three percent of college applicants said that a college’s commitment to the environment could affect their decision to attend.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute encourages colleges to become engaged shareholders to ensure that assets from endowments are invested in a socially responsible manner. 746 colleges own combined endowment assets of approximately $290 billion, and can be influential in improving corporate policies.

Yet only a small percentage of colleges vote on social and environmental shareholder resolutions, and fewer still submit proxy resolutions pertaining to sustainability and the environment.


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