Pitt receives “C” grade on environmental sustainability report card

By Lindsay Carroll

Pitt earned an overall “C” grade in a series of report cards released by a nonprofit… Pitt earned an overall “C” grade in a series of report cards released by a nonprofit organization that evaluates environmental sustainability at schools across the country.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute, a nonprofit organization started in 2005, issued the College Sustainability Report Cards online at greenreportcard.org. The organization ranked the 300 schools in the U.S. and Canada with the largest endowment funds, as well as 32 additional schools that applied to be included.

The schools represented a collective $325 billion in endowment assets, or more than 95 percent of all university endowments, according to the website.

The institute graded Pitt in nine categories, which received the following marks:

— Administration: B

— Climate Change and Energy: C

— Food and Recycling: A

— Green Building: C

— Student Involvement: C

— Transportation: A

— Endowment Transparency: F

— Investment Priorities: C

— Shareholder Engagement: F

The report card said Pitt earned an “F” for endowment transparency because it has “no known police of disclosure of endowment holdings or its shareholder voting record.”

The University earned an “F” for shareholder engagement because it has not made any public statements about active ownership or a proxy voting policy, according to the report.

Pitt earned “A” grades in transportation because its vehicle fleet includes hybrid, electric and biodiesel vehicles with transit provided to students for free.

It also earned an “A” for food and recycling because the dining services offer 100 percent hormone-and-antiobiotic-free milk, as well as a food waste measurement program with student group Free the Planet. The resident dining facilities on campus are also trayless, while cooking oil is recycled for fuel for the school’s biodiesel catering truck, according to the report.

The institute gave Pitt a “C” last year, as well — although the University received a “D” in 2007.

Carnegie Mellon University, West Virginia University and Penn State University all received “B” grades overall.

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