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Assessing universities’ social sustainability: accounting for stakeholder value

Silvia Ayuso (MANGO Chair in CSR, ESCI-UPF, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain)
Xavier Carbonell (MANGO Chair in CSR, ESCI-UPF, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain)
Laia Serradell (MANGO Chair in CSR, ESCI-UPF, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 25 June 2021

Issue publication date: 21 February 2022

461

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess higher education institutions’ (HEIs) social sustainability by applying Integrated Social Value (ISV) analysis to eight universities belonging to the Catalan Association of Public Universities in Spain.

Design/methodology/approach

ISV analysis is a social accounting methodology that considers both the economic value and the social value created for all the organisation’s stakeholders through a participatory and systematic process.

Findings

The authors have shown that ISV analysis can be effective to assess the impacts on social sustainability of HEIs. The monetised results facilitate understanding about the valued impacts and allow integration with the universities’ financial data.

Research limitations/implications

The research advances the under-researched topic of social sustainability assessment in higher education.

Practical implications

Quantifying universities’ social impacts in monetary terms may help to transform conventional financial accounting and improve HEIs’ internal strategy and management according to sustainability principles.

Social implications

The process of measuring the social value created by universities provides a way to meet the rising demands for greater accountability and transparency and facilitates engagement with stakeholders on how these institutions are contributing to sustainable development.

Originality/value

ISV analysis represents an innovative approach to assess how HEIs create benefits for its internal and external stakeholders and contribute to solutions to social challenges.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP) for providing the funding support for this project. They are also grateful to José Luis Retolaza, Leire San José, Josep Maria Raya and Pilar Tirado for reviewing indicators and proxies used for the social value calculation.

Citation

Ayuso, S., Carbonell, X. and Serradell, L. (2022), "Assessing universities’ social sustainability: accounting for stakeholder value", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 443-457. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-12-2020-0509

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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