The report card pioneered the first evaluations of campus and endowment sustainability programs starting in 2007, the organization says. Its accompanying Web site makes available more than 20,000 pages of environmental data collected for five editions over the past five years.
Since its inception, the report card has shown dramatic increases in the take-up of green initiatives on campuses nationwide. For example, 64 percent of colleges are now committed to carbon emissions reduction, up from 23 percent in the report card’s first edition, and 95 percent now have a sustainability committee, up from 40 percent in the first edition.
SEI says it is suspending work on the report card in order to channel its efforts into helping decision-makers utilize green revolving funds. Such funds are used to finance energy-efficiency upgrades that offer a quantifiable monetary savings. A portion of the returns from these projects are then reinvested in the fund and used for future green projects.
In October 2011, the Institute launched the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, a program aimed at increasing college involvement in green revolving funds.
The latest news comes just days after a group of environmental organizations, including SEI, As You Sow and the Responsible Endowments Coalition, launched the Divest Coal Coalition – a body aiming to encourage colleges and universities to pull investments out of coal, according to ENews Park Forest.
The campaign is asking higher education institutions to divest from a “Filthy 15” list of companies, including Peabody, Consol Energy and Duke Energy, the web site reports.