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Report Card 2011

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York University
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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York University

School details:

Endowment: $278 million as of June 30, 2010

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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 +
The President's Sustainability Council works on a variety of efforts and is currently developing a campus sustainability ambassadors program. One full-time staffer works in the Office of Environmental Design and Sustainability, and 13 staff members devote a portion of their time to sustainability initiatives. All computers purchased are EPEAT certified; almost all appliances and lighting are Energy Star qualified; and most paper products contain postconsumer recycled content.
York University has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent since 2006 and aims to achieve a 25 percent reduction by 2011. The majority of HVAC systems on campus have been recommissioned, and most of the university's heating and cooling needs are delivered through an on-site natural gas cogeneration facility.
The university spends 18 percent of its food budget on local and organic items. Dining services purchases only milk that is hormone and antibiotic free, as well as seafood that meets sustainable fisheries guidelines. Cafeterias are trayless; preconsumer food waste is composted at all meals; and postconsumer compost bins are located across campus. The campus diverts 59 percent of its waste from landfills and recycles electronic items.
The university's green building policy emphasizes low-impact development and sustainable principles, including the use of environmentally preferable materials, efficient airflow systems, and stormwater retention. Five buildings on campus are built to LEED certification standards. A building and grounds maintenance policy mandates the use of green cleaning products, native plant species, and minimal use of pesticides.
Numerous student groups focus on the intersections of food, energy, resource use, and social justice. The university supports 20 paid and 25 volunteer internships and eco-rep positions. The Res Race to Zero competition reduced energy use by 5 percent amongst the eight participating residence halls.
More than 65 percent of community members commute to campus via environmentally preferable means. York runs two natural gas buses between its campuses, offers a discount on public transit passes, and awards incentives to carpoolers. To encourage biking, racks are placed at major buildings, indoor monitored bike parking is present at one location, and shower facilities are available for cyclists.
The university makes a list of external managers and mutual funds, as well as equity, fixed income, and cash holdings, available online 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 and does not invest the endowment in on-campus sustainability projects, renewable energy funds, or community development loan funds. The university uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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