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Report Card 2008

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University of British Columbia
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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University of British Columbia

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $772 million as of June 30, 2006

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


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 University of British Columbia has a sustainability office with seven permanent staff and four to five student positions, as well as a president’s sustainability advisory committee with 14 members of senior management. In addition, 145 sustainability coordinators and 50 student residence coordinators promote sustainability across campus. The university has signed the Talloires Declaration and released its own sustainability strategy in 2006 with 68 targets to be completed by 2010.
UBC has reduced its energy use by 23 percent and its carbon emissions by 25 percent since 2000, despite a 46 percent increase in building area. The university plans to work with other institutions of higher education to set up a Canadian University and College Climate Alliance. The university also purchases some green energy certificates and has introduced alternative energy solutions, including geothermal at the Okanagan campus.
Food services works with the UBC farm to maximize organic produce offered on campus, and fair-trade, organic coffee is standard at all non-franchise food service outlets. The purchasing policy stipulates preference for local and sustainable suppliers and includes a policy for sustainable seafood. All organics—including paper plates and containers—are sent to an on-site composter. Each year 1,700 students receive reusable containers. The composting and recycling programs divert 46 percent of annual operational waste from the landfill.
UBC’s campus features an array of green buildings, some of which have been LEED Gold-certified. All new buildings are expected to be able to meet or exceed LEED Silver-level requirements. The UBC Renew program renovates buildings, extending their life by 40 years and reducing construction waste.
Carpool, shuttle, and car-sharing options are available, and the U-Pass provides students with unlimited access to public transportation. Automobile traffic to the university is 22 percent below 1997 levels, despite a 28 percent growth in the student body. Diesel fleet vehicles use a blend of 10 to 20 percent biodiesel fuel.
According to the university’s policy, endowment holdings are available to interested parties on a transparent and timely basis. The security custodian’s quarterly report, detailing manager names and segregated assets where applicable, is available online.
New investment managers are asked about their understanding of the social, ecological, and economic consequences of their investment decisions in order to clarify their approach and values in making investments on behalf of the university.
The endowment’s investment managers conform to the principle of voting in favor of measures that promote good corporate governance and voting against measures that do not appear to create value for shareholders.
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