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Carbon disclosure, performance and the green reputation of higher educational institutions in the UK

Anup Kumar Saha (Department of Accounting & Information Systems, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Institute of Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia)
Theresa Dunne (University of Dundee School of Business, Dundee, UK)
Rob Dixon (Durham University Business School, Durham, UK)

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change

ISSN: 1832-5912

Article publication date: 16 June 2021

Issue publication date: 27 October 2021




This study aims to investigate the carbon emission disclosures (CED) and performance of UK higher educational institutions (HEIs) and the associated impact on their environmental reputation. The paper argues that HEIs possess distinct characteristics that make comparisons with profit-oriented companies problematic and misleading.


The green score published by the People and Planet organisation provided the population for this analysis. All universities with a 2012 score were entered into the initial sample. The association between green reputation, CED and carbon performance was examined using a robust least squared regression model. The green score published in 2019 was then compared with this to confirm whether the findings still held.


CED, carbon emissions and carbon audit were found to have highly significant determinant relationships with HEIs’ green reputation status at a 1% significance level.

Research limitations/implications

The impact of CED and carbon performance indicators needs to have a clear relationship with reputation to motivate HEIs to act and disclose.


The study is distinct in investigating the impact of CED and carbon performance by UK HEIs on their environmental reputation. The study shows whether, and how, the HEI CED and carbon performances contribute towards their environmental reputation. HEIs have distinct characteristics from profit-seeking organisations and thus tailored research is required.



Conflict of interest: On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Funding and disclosure of potential conflicts of interest: No funding was received by the authors for the research reported in this paper.

Research involving human participants and/or animals and informed consent: Not applicable. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


Saha, A.K., Dunne, T. and Dixon, R. (2021), "Carbon disclosure, performance and the green reputation of higher educational institutions in the UK", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 604-632.



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