Deterring sustainability in higher education institutions

Luis Velazquez (Industrial Engineering Department, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)
Nora Munguia (Industrial Engineering Department, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)
Margarita Sanchez (Industrial Engineering Department, University of Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To explore some of the factors that could obstruct the implementation of the sustainability initiatives in higher education institutions as a way for assisting key players to improve the effectiveness of their potential or current sustainability initiatives and being ready for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


It was conducted a literature review of published and unpublished articles, conference proceedings, university reports, books, and website documents. It was not target any specific discipline. However, most of the material was from engineering, economics, sociology, and related sciences. The time frame of the literature review was from 1990 to 2002. Important references prior to 1990 were also analyzed.


The adequate conditions for the successful implementation of sustainability programs do not exist. There are many obstacles preventing the success of sustainability initiatives on campuses around the world. However, sustainability initiatives on campuses are flourishing despite these difficulties.


Usually, literature about sustainability on campus is focused most on good experiences, paying little or no attention to describe the issues hampering their evolution. What went wrong is mentioned without sufficient consideration or given a secondary status making it impossible to learn from bad experiences. This paper reveals several failures as a way to anticipate solutions for overcoming institutional barriers confronted in particular situations.



Velazquez, L., Munguia, N. and Sanchez, M. (2005), "Deterring sustainability in higher education institutions", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 383-391.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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