McGill earns greener grade in new "Report Card"

Jim Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services). / Photo: Owen Egan
Jim Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services). / Photo: Owen Egan

By Chris Chipello

McGill got another shade greener this past year, according to a widely recognized “report card” covering hundreds of colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

In the College Sustainability Report Card 2009, published Wednesday by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, McGill earned a grade of B for its overall performance – up from B- last year and C+ the year before. The average grade for the 300 schools surveyed this year was C+.

“We are very pleased that our substantial progress toward making McGill a sustainable institution is gaining recognition”, said Jim Nicell, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services). “This is a result of the long-standing efforts of students and staff throughout the entire McGill community and a credit to our Rethink McGill campaign.  With our recent deployment of new staff and resources devoted to sustainability, I expect that our progress in the coming years will continue to accelerate.”

The report card covers 300 schools with the largest endowments, ranging from about $150 million to $35 billion. The combined total is nearly $400 billion.

The report card grades each school in nine categories: administration, climate change and energy, food and recycling, green building, student involvement, transportation, endowment transparency, investment priorities and shareholder engagement.

“The College Sustainability Report Card is the only independent evaluation of sustainability in campus operations and endowment investments and it has the highest response rate of any college sustainability ranking or rating,” said Mark Orlowski, Executive Director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, in a press release.

The Sustainable Endowments Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices.  Founded in 2005, the institute is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and receives funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, Kendall Foundation, Surdna Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, among others.

Results of the survey are available at the website