Online sustainability reporting at universities: the case of Hong Kong

Yi An (Department of Accounting, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China)
Howard Davey (Department of Accounting, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Harun Harun (University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia)
Zebin Jin (Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China)
Xin Qiao (Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China)
Qun Yu (Qindao College, Qingdao, China)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the current state of online sustainability reporting in the Hong Kong higher education sector from a variety of perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

The multiple case study was the research method for this research. Content analysis of the university website, as well as interview with university management, personnel in the sustainability office, academics and students, were adopted for data collection. An assessment framework for sustainability reporting was developed as an instrument for content analysis, based on G4 guidelines and prior literature.

Findings

The authors observe that most Hong Kong public universities have a specific webpage for sustainability reporting on the website, which consists of an amount of sustainability-related information in terms of general aspects, specific aspects and stakeholder participation. Moreover, they notice that Hong Kong public universities attach importance to sustainability and its reporting, and they would like to communicate their sustainability activities to various stakeholders and the community where they operate.

Practical implications

This paper indicates some practical implications for academics, university management, policymakers and sustainability education amongst universities in Hong Kong and beyond.

Social implications

This paper argues that universities, as a central place to foster talents and future leaders, should operate in a sustainable manner at the first place and then report their sustainability-related activities taking full advantage of the current information and communication technologies, so as to discharge accountability to various stakeholders and meet the expectations of the community where they operate.

Originality/value

This paper uses a multiple case study approach to explore the status of online sustainability reporting at Hong Kong universities, which contributes to limited research in the area, particularly for online sustainability reporting in the higher education institutions, and makes some contributions to the extant literature.

Keywords

Citation

An, Y., Davey, H., Harun, H., Jin, Z., Qiao, X. and Yu, Q. (2019), "Online sustainability reporting at universities: the case of Hong Kong", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-06-2018-0161

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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