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October 25, 2007

UW earns A- in sustainability

The UW has received a grade of A-minus in the College Sustainability Report Card, issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

The UW was chosen an Overall College Sustainability Leader (one of six institutions achieving an overall grade of A-minus or better) and one of 25 Campus Sustainability Leaders (receiving a grade of A-minus or better in five campus operations categories).

The 200 universities with the largest endowments in the US and Canada were judged by their performance in eight main categories. The institute defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Individual grades on the report card were:


  • Administration: A. The institute credited the UW with signing the Presidents Climate Commitment and with creating an Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee, as well as a formal policy on environmental stewardship.

  • Climate Change and Energy: A. The UW is a founding member of the Seattle Climate Partnership and the Seattle campus electrical purchases are 100 percent renewable. The UW also has implemented wide-ranging energy conservation projects.

  • Food and Recycling: A. The UW’s food services have emphasized the purchase of local, organic and natural foods and the department is working toward a zero-waste goal, composting postconsumer food waste and offering compostable dishware and to-go packaging.

  • Green Building: A. The UW has declared that all state-funded new buildings and major renovations will be LEED Silver-certified at a minimum. UW buildings include one LEED-certified, two LEED Silver-certified and one LEED Gold-CS Pilot certified.

  • Transportation: A. The UW encourages the community to use alternative transportation and maintains a fleet of more than 300 alternative fuel, hybrid, electric and biodiesel-powered vehicles.

  • Endowment Transparency: B. Endowment holdings and proxy voting records are available to faculty, staff, students and the general public upon request.

  • Investment Priorities: A. The University currently invests in renewable energy funds and energy-conscious real estate funds. The investment policies state that the degree of corporate responsibility should be a factor in investment decisions.

  • Shareholder Engagement: B. The University delegates proxy voting to its investment managers with the proviso that due consideration be given to corporate responsibility. Shareholder engagement includes letter-writing campaigns and sponsorship of shareholder resolutions.

The entire report is available at www.endowmentinstitute.org