Who’s Driving the Big Green Bus?
The big green bus has arrived (there really is a big green bus, but I’m speaking metaphorically). If you haven’t gotten on that bus, you may find yourself left behind by the rest of your organization.
The development of sustainable initiatives and programs in business are not only driving that big green bus, they are becoming a driver of business decisions on all levels. Sustainability is becoming a key indicator in business. Maybe I should restate that thought, sustainability isn’t becoming a key indicator it has become a key indicator.
Although this applies to all business in both the private and public sector, it is in the public sector where the development of sustainability programs is really taking a priority. I would venture that the higher-education sector is rising above all others in sustainable development; in fact, higher-education is leading the sustainability transformation, advancing sustainability development in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research.
In a Fall 2010 report, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) noted that more than 113 new academic degree programs in sustainability (not counting new certificate programs) have been established; 905 campus buildings are LEED-certified; 547 campuses have reported their greenhouse gas emissions inventories; 330 have submitted climate action plans to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC); and 240 institutions are participating in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
In April, just before Earth Day (and right in the middle of the ACUP conference), The Princeton Review, in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), released the second annual edition of its unique guidebook saluting the nation’s most environmentally responsible “green colleges.”
The Princeton Review’s Green Rating evaluates colleges and universities on their environmentally related policies, practices and academic offerings. The result is a numerical score on a scale of 60-99. 703 higher-education institutions were tallied last year. Of those, 308 scored more than 80 points and are featured in the 2011 edition of the guidebook. Special recognition went to 18 schools for their commitment to sustainability. These schools received the highest Green Rating of 99 and a place on The Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll.