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Article

Laura M. Hill and Deane Wang

Higher education institutions increasingly have gained momentum in integrating sustainability into university curricula. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the…

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education institutions increasingly have gained momentum in integrating sustainability into university curricula. The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the approval, implementation and management process of the new university-wide, general education requirement in sustainability at the University of Vermont (UVM). The intent is to provide a case study to inform other institutions seeking to create similar university-wide sustainability requirements.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors applied a process framework focused on institutional dynamics and values to analyze UVM’s success in instituting a sustainability requirement across the curriculum. These two frameworks can provide a more general application of this case study to other institutional contexts.

Findings

The case study suggests that in the context of a diverse disciplinary and administrative environment at a university, the strategic unfolding, approval and implementation of UVM’s university-wide, general education sustainability requirement can provide a general model for other universities seeking to embed sustainability across the curriculum.

Originality/value

It is uncommon for research universities with multiple professional schools to offer a university-wide requirement in sustainability. This case study analyzes the creation of a sustainability requirement at UVM by using a process framework to organize the complex, multi-stakeholder activities and events that eventually resulted in a successful curricular change. Thus, it is potentially instructive for institutions seeking to integrate a learning outcomes-based sustainability requirement into a university curriculum because it is generalizable to other institutions and pushes forward our understanding of institutional change.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Content available
Article

Nader Elsayed and Sameh Ammar

The purpose of this paper is to explore the emergence of sustainability governance through the unfolding hybridisation process between corporate governance and corporate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the emergence of sustainability governance through the unfolding hybridisation process between corporate governance and corporate social responsibility and the implications of this for understanding patterns in sustainability reporting over time.

Design/methodology/approach

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill incident is an extreme case study undertaken to examine its implications on the organisational legitimacy of British Petroleum (BP) and the latter’s response to the incident and beyond. The paper draws on Suchman’s legitimacy framework (1995) to understand sustainability governance as an organisational practice that evolved post the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to manage BP’s legitimacy. It draws on archival records and documentation from 2008 to 2017, as key sources for data collection, using interrogation by NVivo software.

Findings

Sustainability governance is a sound practice that was socially constructed to manage the re-legitimatisation process following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is characterised by broadness (the interplay between the corporate governance and corporate social responsibility disciplines), dynamic (developing the tactics to repair and maintain legitimacy), agility (conforming to the accountability for socially responsible investment and ensuring steps towards geopolitically responsible investment) and interdependence (reflecting composition and interactions).

Practical implications

This paper has practical implications for organisations, in terms of sustainability governance’s constitution, mechanism and characteristics.

Social implications

This paper has implications not only for organisations, in terms of sustainability governance’s characteristics, but also for policy-makers, regulators and accounting education. However, the present paper’s insights are achieved through an in-depth and longitudinal case study.

Originality/value

This paper has problematized the concept of sustainability governance and elaborated its evolution (the emergence, enactment, deployment and interplay) process. The sustainability governance showed an otherwise organisational response that moves our understanding of the deployment of disclosure for complex organisational change as a way to discredit events.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article

Nancy B. Kurland

This project aims to examine interpersonal interactions at the committee level that lead to shared governance of a college's environmental responsibilities. It…

Abstract

Purpose

This project aims to examine interpersonal interactions at the committee level that lead to shared governance of a college's environmental responsibilities. It demonstrates the important role shared governance plays in integrating sustainability into a liberal arts college.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper combines participant observation and case study techniques. From September 2010 to October 2012, the author participated in 46 meetings and conducted 14 interviews with key informants.

Findings

Key challenges to efficiency and effectiveness of the shared governance process differ depending on whether the committee was involved in visioning or validation work. Key drivers included mid-level leadership, a commitment to the mandate, and a willingness to engage in an ongoing process of shared understanding.

Research limitations/implications

This study's findings are limited insofar as inaccuracies may arise due to respondents' poor recall, the interviewer's questions, if the interviewee gives the interviewer what she wants to hear, and if events observed may have proceeded differently because it was being observed.

Practical implications

This study provides insight into the process of change leading up to implementation of sustainability practices. It highlights strategic and value convergence, provides a clear example of mid-level leadership driving change through an emergent process, and which required commitment to the original mandate, the ongoing ability to create shared understanding, and the ability of faculty and administrators to move from independent to consultative action.

Originality/value

Sustainability in higher education often begins with shared governance in a committee. However, little research on shared governance exists at the committee level, and none focuses on the unique challenge of systemic change for sustainability. This project begins to fill that gap.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article

Pallab Kumar Biswas, Mansi Mansi and Rakesh Pandey

The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of board gender composition, board independence and the existence of a board sustainability committee on the corporate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the impacts of board gender composition, board independence and the existence of a board sustainability committee on the corporate social and environmental performance of Australian firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The dataset comprises 2,188 Australian Securities Exchange listed firm-year observations (407 individual firms) from 2004 to 2015. The ASSET4 environmental, social and governance database is used to measure corporate social and environmental performance and their sub-dimensions.

Findings

Our results show that firms with higher board gender composition, greater board independence and sustainability committees tend to have better social and environmental performance. This paper also provides empirical evidence of the positive association of these variables on the sub-dimensions of social and environmental performance. The results are robust after controlling for self-selection and various forms of endogeneity.

Originality/value

This is the first study that examines the relationship between sustainability committees and corporate social and environmental performance in the context of Australia. This study also overcomes the relatively small sample size and shorter study period issues of similar studies in Australia that provide inconclusive evidence on the relationship between each of board gender composition, board independence and corporate social and environmental performance.

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Article

Adriana Rossi and Lara Tarquinio

This paper aims to achieve the following objectives. First, through a longitudinal study, the authors explore the trend of voluntary external assurance of sustainability

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to achieve the following objectives. First, through a longitudinal study, the authors explore the trend of voluntary external assurance of sustainability reports among Italian listed companies from 2008 to 2012. Thus, the authors aim to analyse the content level of the assurance statements and to test whether it is affected by certain corporate variables and by the type of practitioner chosen.

Design/methodology/approach

A legitimacy theory framework is adopted to investigate the phenomenon of sustainability report assurance services in Italy. The authors developed an assurance statement disclosure index (ASDI) constructed on the basis of the standards ISAE 3000 and AA1000AS. Thus, the authors tested whether the ASDI is affected by certain corporate variables using an ordinary least square (OLS) regression model. To test how each specific item is related to the assurance provider, a contingency table was developed.

Findings

The results of this paper show many differences in the assurance statements content in particular with reference to the criteria used, conclusive comments and recommendations. The presence of a corporate social responsibility committee and an expert who serves on it is positively related to a higher rank on the ASDI. In contrast, Big4 firms seem to be associated with a lower disclosure rank. Finally, Big4 are positively associated with the indications of the provider’s characteristics and negatively with their conclusive comments and recommendations.

Originality/value

This paper presents some findings in an area where little evidence exists, that is, the effects of some variables on the quantity of information disclosed in the assurance statements.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Nuha Ceesay, Moade Shubita and Fiona Robertson

Purpose: The purpose of this chapter is to establish the sustainability reporting practices of FTSE 100 companies using integrated reporting (IR), corporate social…

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this chapter is to establish the sustainability reporting practices of FTSE 100 companies using integrated reporting (IR), corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate governance (CG) as proxies. Our study has adopted a holistic approach by combining dimensions of each factor in one variable.

Design/Methodological Approach: The study data cover all FTSE 100 companies over five years, thereby generating 505 company-year observations for each variable of the study. Authors have collected the data from Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports filed with Thomson Reuters and International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

Findings: Results indicate the practice of sustainability reporting in FTSE 100 companies both per variables and dimensions levels. It shows, for example, 89% of the companies reported on their charitable donations. The study also found that 79% of the FTSE 100 companies reported on their sustainability committees whilst 86% and 85% reported on their emission reduction and waste reduction policies, respectively. Results show that the CSR impact is higher than CG regarding IR adoption. The Logistic Model manages to explain a high percentage of IR adoption while controlling for other misspecification issues such as multicollinearity.

Practical Implication: The study highlights practice of substantiality reporting for public shareholding companies listed on FTSE 100 Index along with interaction among proxies. These will be of interest to companies not only in the FTSE 100 Index but also those outside. Companies can rely on these factors to strengthen their governance, social responsibility and reporting policies in consideration of all stakeholders and not just a few. We believe that we shed a quantitative explanation on IR adoption by CSR and CG factors, and we expect an impact on practices following results of our study.

Social Implication: Results have indicated that at least 60% of companies in the FTSE 100 Index have imbedded social responsibility activities, such as charitable giving, waste reduction initiatives, emissions reduction policy and sustainability committees.

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Article

Heba Abdelmotaal and Magdy Abdel-Kader

The purpose of this paper is to examine which firm characteristics affect the usage of sustainability incentives in executive remuneration contracts, and whether these…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine which firm characteristics affect the usage of sustainability incentives in executive remuneration contracts, and whether these sustainability incentives have an impact on shareholders’ return.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on a sample of 212 firms from the FTSE 350 firms over the period of 2009-2011.

Findings

The results indicate that there is a significant relationship between the adoption of sustainability incentives in executive remuneration and firm size, compensation committee independence, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) sustainability committee, CSR sustainability index, and resource efficiency policy variables. Further, there is evidence to support a positive impact on the shareholders’ return.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study should be interpreted within two limitations. First, the limited numbers of the sample years due to the limited number of firms used sustainability incentives. Second, the use of a dummy variable in the measurement of the adoption of sustainability incentives in the analysis.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of sustainability incentives within the performance measurement system and compensation contracts that could be a solution for the agency problem.

Originality/value

This study provides empirical evidence on an increased use of sustainability incentives in UK firms, and identifies firm’s characteristics that explain such increase in the sustainability incentives, finally its positive impact on the shareholders’ return.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article

Anthony Gino Del Fiacco and Madeleine Orr

The purpose of this paper is to delineate shifts in environmental sustainability leadership in the Olympic Movement through a historical narrative.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to delineate shifts in environmental sustainability leadership in the Olympic Movement through a historical narrative.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature review was conducted and data were analyzed chronologically.

Findings

Four eras are identified, distinguished by different leadership and levels of commitment toward the natural environment: public-driven environmental sustainability, host city-driven environmental sustainability, International Olympic Committee-mandated environmental sustainability and environmental regression.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited to secondary data collected through a systematic literature review.

Practical implications

The findings inform a list of best practices for Olympic environmental sustainability, grounded in evidence of past successes and lessons learned from environmentally insensitive events.

Originality/value

This is the first historical narrative and synthesis of environmental leadership in the Olympic Movement, a topic previously covered in studies focused solely on the institutions responsible for hosting the event, ignoring external parties and the deep history of environmentalism dating back to the 1930s, or focusing just on actions, ignoring the actors who drove the environmental movement.

Details

International Journal of Event and Festival Management, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1758-2954

Keywords

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Article

Claudia Mac-lean, Luis Santiago Vargas, Gonzalo Uribe, Cristian Aldea, Lorna Lares and Oscar Mercado

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…

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.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article

Merve Kılıç and Cemil Kuzey

This paper aims to investigate the adherence level of current company reports to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) integrated reporting framework…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the adherence level of current company reports to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) integrated reporting framework through analysis of whether and to what extent those reports include the content elements of this framework. This study also aims to examine the impact of corporate sustainability characteristics on the adherence level of current company reports to the integrated reporting framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample for this research comprises the non-financial companies which were listed on Borsa Istanbul, the Turkish stock exchange, as of 31 December 2015. The authors constructed a disclosure index based on the content elements of the IIRC reporting framework. They then measured the integrated reporting disclosure score (IRS) of each company through a manual content analysis of its annual reports and stand-alone sustainability reports. To test the hypotheses, the authors performed a number of statistical analyses.

Findings

The authors determined that current company reports mainly present generic risks rather than company-specific; provide positive information while dismissing negative information; present financial and non-financial initiatives separately; lack a strategic focus; and include backward-looking information rather than forward-looking information. Consistent with the predictions, the authors found that the IRS is significantly and positively associated with sustainability reporting, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) adoption, sustainability index listing and the presence of a sustainability committee.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature by enhancing the understanding of integrated reporting practices through the application of a checklist based upon the IIRC integrated reporting framework. Further, this study contributes to the literature by evaluating the impact of corporate sustainability characteristics on IRS.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

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