From Stanford to Oberlin, Schools Rush to Tap the ESG Bond Market

Eager to show their commitment to mitigate climate change, U.S. colleges are touting their efforts in the bond market with a trendy financing tool.

Schools last year floated almost four times as much debt branded with green, sustainability or social labels as the year before, taking advantage of the hunger from investors who want securities that signal their own interest in the environment.

Perennial builders and repairers of their mini cities, colleges are funding projects that will reduce their carbon footprint -- such as by converting a century-old energy system at Oberlin College. They’re also helping cut future emissions by expanding research space and a track to test electric-car charging at Utah State University. Common projects on many campuses are new buildings that adhere to greener standards than older facilities.