Friday, September 26, 2008

Sustainability Report Card Gives UCLA a "B-"; I disagree

Everyone loves rankings. But a B-? UCLA's Green Report Card What are these guys smoking?

If I had to objectively discuss whether UCLA is green or not, I'd make the following points;

1. The campus is beautiful. So we are green on aesthetics. This is a nicer campus than any other University in the US including Stanford and Princeton.

2. Given the perfect weather, our electricity bills must be lower than more humid areas

3. California's electric utilities are greener than any other state's (perhaps Oregon is close). So the power we use doesn't add up to too much co2 especially after LA DWP stops buying from the out of state coal fired power plant.

4. There is little need for winter heating like at the Ivy League schools.

5. The UCLA Institute of the environment is actively engaging the students, see

6. Investments are being made to make the campus more energy efficient.

Now on the "Brown" Front;

1. faculty do live far away from Westwood because West LA is quite expensive, so the carbon footprint from commuting must be large relative to Harvard's or other schools such as Tufts

2. the graduate students receive large scholarships to attend here and they buy Hummers and create a lot of CO2 as they drive around (I'm kidding about this point).

Returning to this brilliant report card,

Apparently, we received an "F" for the subcomponent called "Shareholder Involvement".

This sounds like a silly category.


The Shareholder Engagement category examines how colleges conduct shareholder proxy voting. As investors, colleges have an opportunity to actively consider and vote on climate change and other sustainability-related shareholder resolutions. Forming a shareholder responsibility committee to advise the trustees allows schools to include students, faculty, and alumni in research and discussion of important corporate policies on sustainability. In addition, such committees offer exceptional educational opportunities at the intersection of policy, business, and sustainability. Points were awarded to schools that had formed such committees as well as for past votes on sustainability-related proxy resolutions (when such records were available).

Key Findings

* Approximately one in nine schools has an advisory committee on shareholder responsibility. Eleven percent of schools have a committee of multiple stakeholders (e.g. students, faculty, staff, alumni) to help inform the trustees’ decisions on shareholder proxy resolutions.

* The average grade for the Shareholder Engagement category was “D-.” For a summary of grade distribution for this category, please refer to the chart on the right.