Developing a quantitative tool for sustainability assessment of HEIs

Bushra Waheed (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University, St John's, Canada)
Faisal I. Khan (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University, St John's, Canada)
Brian Veitch (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University, St John's, Canada)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 20 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Implementation of a sustainability paradigm demands new choices and innovative ways of thinking. The main objective of this paper is to provide a meaningful sustainability assessment tool for make informed decisions, which is applied to higher education institutions (HEIs).

Design/methodology/approach

The objective is achieved by developing a quantitative tool for sustainability assessment using a driving force‐pressure‐state‐exposure‐effect‐action (DPSEEA) framework. The DPSEEA framework considers environmental, social, economic, and educational performance as main dimensions of sustainability. The proposed model is called DPSEEA‐Sustainability index Model (D‐SiM). The D‐SiM is a causality‐based model in which the sustainability index (SI) is an outcome of nonlinear effects of sustainability indicators in various stages of DPSEEA. To have an improved understanding of input factors (driving forces) and their impact on sustainability, a simplified empirical model is developed and applied to HEIs to determine the percent contribution of various driving forces on sustainability.

Findings

The study reveals that economic development, social equity, and education in sustainability are the major drivers for achieving sustainability in HEI, while health and safety issues, energy requirements, institutional enhancement, and international research and development trends are the less significant driving forces.

Originality/value

The indicators connected in DPSEEA framework through causal relationships lead to the quantitative assessment of sustainability, which provides a unique approach for informed decision making.

Keywords

Citation

Waheed, B., Khan, F. and Veitch, B. (2011), "Developing a quantitative tool for sustainability assessment of HEIs", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 355-368. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371111168278

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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