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Report Card 2011

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Harvard University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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Harvard University

School details:

Endowment: $26,035 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts


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  
A -
Harvard's revolving loan fund has invested over $15 million in energy efficiency and conservation projects. The sustainability office employs 21 staff, and 3 sustainability committees have worked on a number of initiatives, including the development of a university life-cycle analysis tool. The university purchases a variety of Energy Star- and EPEAT-certified products.
Harvard has cut greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent since 2006 and aims to achieve a 30 percent reduction by 2016. The university uses cogeneration, has implemented temperature setbacks, and has retrofitted all buildings with steam line insulation, efficient lighting, lighting sensors, and metering for electricity and chilled water. Energy conservation is promoted with individual energy audits, energy monitoring displays, and a trade-in program for inefficient appliances.
Dining services spends a quarter of its food budget on local products and serves only hormone-free milk. Pre- and postconsumer food scraps are composted; used cooking oil is recycled for biodiesel production; and excess food is donated. Fifty-six percent of campus waste is recycled, and all landscaping waste is composted or mulched. Harvard Recycling also runs a surplus center for reuse of furniture and other items.
All new construction and major renovations must achieve LEED Gold certification. The campus includes 31 LEED-certified buildings and 49 LEED-registered buildings. Water use has decreased 11 percent since 2005 through the use of low-flow faucets and showerheads, waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and weather-informed irrigation. Recovered rainwater is used to wash campus shuttles.
Students at Harvard have worked on initiatives including political advocacy, hosting educational events, and promoting energy efficiency and recycling. The university employs 42 sustainability interns and runs an eco-reps program. A recent competition led to a 30 percent reduction in residential energy use and a 40 percent increase in recycling rates.
Harvard offers incentives for carpooling, as well as a free on-campus shuttle service. Local public transportation is subsidized for the school community, and the school partners with a car-sharing program. A free bike-share and repair program is available for employees.
The university makes only asset allocation information available to the public. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is sent upon request to the public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, invests the endowment in renewable energy funds, and is exploring investment in community development loan funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
An advisory committee, including students, faculty, and alumni, makes proxy voting recommendations to the board on social and environmental resolutions. For corporate governance resolutions, the university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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