This study of environment management systems implementation in Swedish universities contributes to the dialogue about the role of management systems as tools in developing sustainability in higher education.
The empirical study is based on Government directives that make environmental management systems implementation compulsory for all public organisations in Sweden, annual environmental reports of Swedish universities for the years 1997‐2002, their internet home pages, and a survey.
Many universities focus only on direct environmental aspects like paper use and waste handling, even though the main tasks of the universities, namely education, research and co‐operation with the surrounding society, that is the indirect aspects, are likely to have a considerable environmental impact. The organisation of the environmental work and the placement of the environmental coordinator also vary. Two main patterns appear; the coordinator has a function in the service department or an administrative function in the president's office. The goal of certification increases the likelihood of the environmental coordinator being placed in the president's office.
The aim is to increase the understanding of why and how a concept that was first introduced in industry is applied to institutions of higher education.
Sammalisto, K. and Arvidsson, K. (2005), "Environmental management in Swedish higher education: Directives, driving forces, hindrances, environmental aspects and environmental co‐ordinators in Swedish universities", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 18-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370510573113
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