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Report Card 2011

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Duke University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Duke University

School details:

Endowment: $4,400 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Durham, North Carolina


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
B +
Duke's campus master plan and environmental policy promote environmental, economic, and social responsibility. The Sustainability Committee, which includes 9 administrators, 10 staff, 27 faculty, and 15 students, recently completed a climate action plan and developed criteria to choose buildings to retrofit. The university employs three full-time staff in its sustainability office and four additional full-time sustainability staff.
Duke has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent since 2007 and aims to achieve a 45 percent reduction by 2024. The university invests in local carbon offset projects, such as a methane-capture project on a farm in North Carolina. All buildings have been outfitted with efficient lighting, steam line insulation, and chilled water meters. Temperature setbacks and steam trap systems are also utilized, among other energy-saving measures.
Duke spends 25 percent of its food budget on local items and also purchases organic produce and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. Eateries offer a reusable to-go container program; surplus food is donated to food banks; and pre- and postconsumer scraps are composted in all Bon Appétit locations. Duke enforces limited printing and operates a campus store to resell unused office supplies.
Duke's campus features 17 LEED-certified buildings, and a building policy requires LEED certification but encourages projects to aim for LEED Silver certification. The campus has reduced its water consumption by 21 percent since 2005 using cisterns that recycle rainwater as well as leak detection technology. The university restored a wetlands area that serves as an outdoor classroom and wildlife habitat.
Students at Duke can live in an energy-efficient residence. First-years learn about campus sustainability through resident assistants' presentations, a waste-free picnic, and an online sustainability pledge. The school works with 100 volunteers and paid sustainability interns on campus initiatives. During the annual Eco-Olympics, cash and prizes are given to dorms that increase their recycling and reduce their energy consumption.
Duke provides an online ride-matching service to coordinate carpooling, and offers preferred and discounted parking for high occupancy vehicles. The university provides free transportation around campus and to downtown Durham, and a free bike-sharing program with 120 bikes is available.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available to trustees.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting for environmental and social resolutions. For corporate governance resolutions, the university provides its investment managers with general guidelines for voting proxies.
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