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Report Card 2008

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Brown University
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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Brown University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $2,800 million as of June 30, 2007

Location: Providence, Rhode Island


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


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

Overall grade  
B +
The Energy and Environment Advisory Committee oversees an overall energy and emissions reduction plan. A student EcoReps program communicates environmental information and engages students. The Brown Is Green initiative began in 1991, and is devoted to promoting sustainability on campus.
Brown completed an initial carbon emissions inventory in 1998, which is updated on a regular basis. Retrofits of lighting and mechanical systems have reduced energy consumption. Over $15 million has been approved for energy efficiency investments that will reduce Brown’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. The Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee has recommended pursuing a 30 percent reduction in the central heat plant’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The university dining services department obtains a variety of produce from at least 14 local farms. Pre- and postconsumer food waste is distributed to a local pig farm. Biodegradable to-go containers are used, and an annual average of 35 percent of waste is diverted from landfills through recycling efforts.
Since 1991, Brown has incorporated energy efficiency and high performance design standards in new construction and renovation projects. As a result of these programs, Brown has one of the lowest energy densities and carbon footprints of its peer institutions. Design standards require all future buildings to meet aggressive energy standards, and energy consumption has typically been reduced at least 30 percent below code requirements.
The comprehensive transportation program includes incentives for carpools, parking policies that discourage single-occupancy vehicles, a cycling support group, and, as of September 2007, fully subsidized bus passes. A purchasing policy requires vehicles to be in the top 25 percent of the EPA fuel economy standards and restricts the purchase of SUVs. Several hybrid, natural gas, or biodiesel vehicles are used.
The university makes its proxy voting record available to members of the university community on a password protected website. Information on endowment holdings is not made public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is not currently invested in renewable energy funds or community development loan funds. Brown has selected an investment for a social choice donor option that considers environmental/sustainability factors, but no funds have been invested yet.
The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (including faculty, alumni, and student representatives) advises the president and makes voting recommendations for social issues on proxies. Brown’s investment managers vote all other proxy issues.
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