Leal Filho, W. (2015), "“Sustainability 2.0” a new age of sustainable development in higher education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-10-2014-0149
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
“Sustainability 2.0” a new age of sustainable development in higher education
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Volume 16, Issue 1
Welcome to another issue of International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (IJSHE), where readers will find again a rich set of papers concerned with sustainability at higher education institutions from different parts of the world.
By the time this issue of IJSHE goes to press, arrangements for the conference where the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) will be formally closed, are in full swing. Held in November 2014, in Japan, the meeting celebrated the achievements over the past 10 years and opened the way for a set of follow-up initiative initiatives. It remains to be seen if they will be successful, as many of the problems which were seen during UNDESD, are still there.
As the UNDESD closes, a new age starts, the “Sustainability 2.0” age. It is time to press “reset” and critically assess what education for education sustainable development has achieved since the 2007 Brundtland Report was launched, and cross-check that again with “The Future We Want”, one of the main outputs of the World Sustainable Development Conference held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.
The “Sustainability 2.0” age is meant to be a reflecting point for those concerned with, and doing research on sustainable development in higher education, as it postulates that we need to learn from the mistakes from the past in order not to repeat them. For instance, a long standing problem in respect of sustainability in higher education is the fact that an overwhelming number of universities still do not have any sort of formal commitment to sustainability. This hinders developments, as the lack of a formal plan or strategy means that there is no sense of direction as to where a higher education institution may go. It also prevents comparisons or measurements made to assess progresses.
A further problem which “Sustainability 2.0” needs to address is lack of training, often mentioned as a major barrier and one which is still to be tackled. This is combined with lack of funding specifically targeted to support sustainability initiatives at a given institution, and the lack of systematic means to document and disseminate the wide range of experiences available across the world.
This journal will continue to play its role in the “Sustainability 2.0” age. It has been extended to cater for eight papers per issue (instead of six) and has now five issues per year (instead of four). This provides a sound basis for it to be able to further support the documentation and dissemination of best practice on research and projects on sustainability at universities, consolidating its position as the world’s leading scientific periodical on this field.
Enjoy your reading.
Walter Leal Filho, Department of Life Sciences, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany