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Sustainability governing entities in higher education throughout Chile

Claudia Mac-lean (GAIA Antarctic Research Centre, University of Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile)
Luis Santiago Vargas (Electrical Engineering Department, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile and Instituto Sistemas Complejos de Ingeniería (ISCI), Santiago, Chile)
Gonzalo Uribe (Vice-rectory of Outreach, University of Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile)
Cristian Aldea (GAIA Antarctic Research Centre and Department of Sciences and Natural Resources, University of Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile)
Lorna Lares (Industrial Design Department, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)
Oscar Mercado (Sustainability Program, Metropolitan Technological University, Santiago, Chile)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 12 December 2020

Issue publication date: 22 January 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a panoramic and systematic view of 10 Sustainable Campus Network (SCN) universities’ internal entities in charge of the sustainability effort – such as offices, committees, units, programs, or other, showing how some institutions have gained increasing deployment and momentum. However, their appearance and growth pathways have had significant disparities.

Design/methodology/approach

Global and local agendas have had a strong influence on Chilean higher education institutions. A relevant signal has been the creation of the SCN, formed by 21 Chilean universities, whose vision is to help shape a fair and environmentally healthy civilization contributing from the higher education realm. This work adopts a survey design methodological approach. It describes the following resulting components obtained from the aggregated data: (a) emergence processes and environments, (b) governance models and operational mechanisms, (c) networks and collaboration, and (d) final products generated, for sustainability governing entities within universities in Chile.

Findings

The main findings indicate that at the institutional level, the Cleaner Production Agreement for higher education institutions and the creation of the SCN have been key drivers in the formalization of several entities leading the sustainability efforts within Chilean universities. Also, regarding the degree of commitment to sustainability, the most active internal stakeholder corresponds to students.

Originality/value

The present work represents a pioneering effort in the Chilean context to identify and systematize the challenges, organizational structures, and key accomplishments of sustainability governing entities in higher education nationwide.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from CONICYT PIA/BASAL AFB180003.

Citation

Mac-lean, C., Vargas, L.S., Uribe, G., Aldea, C., Lares, L. and Mercado, O. (2021), "Sustainability governing entities in higher education throughout Chile", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 363-379. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-04-2020-0119

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited