Search results

1 – 10 of over 3000
To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Dan Beveridge, Marcia McKenzie, Philip Vaughter and Tarah Wright

This paper aims to report on a census of high-level sustainability initiatives at all accredited post-secondary institutions in Canada by documenting the institutions that…

Downloads
1167

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on a census of high-level sustainability initiatives at all accredited post-secondary institutions in Canada by documenting the institutions that have undertaken sustainability assessments, have signed one or more sustainability declarations, have sustainability offices or officers or have sustainability policies. The aim was to better understand the broad-scale patterns of commitments by post-secondary institutions to these sustainability initiatives by exploring the interrelationships among them, and with geographic and institutional characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected on existing high-level sustainability initiatives at Canada’s 220 accredited post-secondary institutions. Patterns in the data were analyzed using exploratory statistical techniques. This paper proposes a sustainability initiative score to help understand the diversity and patterns of sustainability initiative uptake.

Findings

Institutions located in larger communities, and in British Columbia and Québec, tended to have higher sustainability initiative scores. Institutions in Saskatchewan and the territories had the lowest sustainability initiative scores. It was found that sustainability office(r)s, assessments and policies co-occurred disproportionately, potentially suggesting positive reinforcement mechanisms. On the other hand, having signed a declaration was not strongly linked to other sustainability initiatives. Terminological preference had shifted from “environment” and “sustainable development” to “sustainability”.

Research limitations/implications

The scope was limited to a discrete set of high-level sustainability initiatives appropriate for a nation-wide census, at a moment in time, and is therefore not exhaustive in subject or temporal extent. This broad-scale comparative analysis compels further study into the relationship between the sustainability policy environment and sustainability practices on the ground, as well as implications for how post-secondary institutions engage with sustainability. The patterns and interrelationships this paper discovered help to structure future critical and comparative in-depth analyses of sustainability policies and practices within post-secondary education.

Originality/value

Almost no extensive, comparative empirical studies of sustainability policy and practice in post-secondary institutions exist. This void is addressed by documenting and analyzing high-level sustainability initiatives across all accredited post-secondary institutions in Canada.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

Tarah S.A. Wright

This paper reviews definitions and frameworks for sustainability in higher education by examining a set of major national and international declarations and institutional…

Downloads
9511

Abstract

This paper reviews definitions and frameworks for sustainability in higher education by examining a set of major national and international declarations and institutional policies related to environmental sustainability in universities. It identifies emerging themes and priorities, and discusses how these declarations and policies are affecting various institutions in how they frame the central task of becoming sustainable and how they perceive their own commitment to sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 4 January 2013

Tehmina Khan

The purpose of this article is to identify the offering and nature (scope) of sustainability accounting courses at universities that have signed the Talloires Declaration

Downloads
1651

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to identify the offering and nature (scope) of sustainability accounting courses at universities that have signed the Talloires Declaration and also at universities with prominent sustainability accounting researchers' affiliations. For this purpose a university web sites content analysis for sustainability accounting courses was conducted. This study can be replicated in order to evaluate web sites disclosures by universities across disciplines in relation to sustainability education. It can also be replicated to assess the theoretical versus implemented scope of sustainability education, and to determine the impact of prominent researchers in the area of sustainability education.

Design/methodology/approach

Talloires Declaration signatories' universities' web sites were searched for information regarding sustainability accounting subjects. A search was also conducted for the Curriculum Vitae and profile of prominent sustainability accounting researchers to collect data on involvement in sustainability accounting education by these researchers. The findings regarding the offering of a sustainability accounting course and its nature and scope (if found on the web sites) are presented in this article.

Findings

It is found that less than 30 per cent of the Talloires Declaration universities' web sites in Canada, USA, United Kingdom and Australia have information on sustainability accounting education in various forms including stand alone subjects (all electives) and sustainability accounting embedded in other accounting and non accounting courses, with limited scope. This percentage was found to be substantially lower or non‐existent at universities from other countries. The probability of sustainability accounting education being offered at the post‐graduate level (specifically as a PhD programme) is much higher at universities that have a prominent research profile in the area. It is also found that sustainability accounting education is not offered in majority of the cases, at the undergraduate level at universities where prominent sustainability accounting researchers are based. The focus is on post‐graduate and research education rather than on undergraduate and course work education.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study was the limited information available in English on universities' web sites from countries where English is not the primary language. Other technical limitations such as the absence of a search function on the university's web site were also found as a hindrance to data collection.

Originality/value

This paper addresses the existence and scope of sustainability accounting education, the gap between universities' expected comprehensive (including all disciplines) commitment to sustainability and the actual implementation of this commitment. It also addresses the absence of sustainability education involvement by prominent sustainability researchers and academics at the under graduate level.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 17 July 2007

S.A. Bekessy, K. Samson and R.E. Clarkson

This paper aims to assess the impact and value of non‐binding agreements or declarations in achieving sustainability in universities.

Downloads
2439

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the impact and value of non‐binding agreements or declarations in achieving sustainability in universities.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University is presented, analysing the reasons for lack of progress towards sustainability and evaluating best ways forward. Using a timeline and analysis of historical records for the 12 years since RMIT first engaged in the sustainability agenda, major trends in the process of implementing policies are identified. Secondly, 15 semi‐structured interviews with university leaders and key sustainability stakeholders from across the university are analysed to provide insight into how and why the university has failed to achieve sustainability.

Findings

New implications for successfully achieving sustainability arise from these findings. Accountability is a key issue, as RMIT appears to reap benefits from being signatory to declarations without achieving genuine progress. To ensure that declarations are more than simply greenwash, universities must open themselves up to scrutiny of progress to determine whether commitments have been honoured.

Practical implications

Relying on small‐scale “club” activities establishing demonstrations and raising awareness is unlikely to lead to permanent change. The evidence of RMIT's engagement with sustainability shows that, for example, even when successful pilot studies are conducted, these initiatives may do little to affect the mainstream practices of a university unless certain conditions exist. Furthermore, given the on‐paper commitments institutions have made, and the role of the university in society, small‐scale and gradual changes in university practice are a far from adequate response to the urgent sustainability imperative.

Originality/value

The initial engagement of RMIT University with the sustainability agenda 12 years ago marked it as a world leader in sustainability best‐practice. Analysing how and why such a disappointing lack of action has resulted from such promising beginnings provides insight into future directions for implementing sustainability in universities. The paper argues that considering the key responsibility of universities in leading the sustainability agenda, a more systemic and serious response is required.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 12 December 2017

Ana Zorio-Grima, Laura Sierra-García and Maria A. Garcia-Benau

The purpose of this research is to identify the combinations of factors leading to experience in sustainability reporting by Spanish public universities.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to identify the combinations of factors leading to experience in sustainability reporting by Spanish public universities.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a sample of 49 public universities in Spain, this paper identifies the combinations of factors on innovation profile, political and internal factors that explain the different degree of corporate social reporting experience with fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis.

Findings

The study’s findings are a contribution to existing literature as the results obtained point out three different configurations leading to this expertise, with a combination of different conditions based on innovation profile, political and internal factors. Also, the results reveal new characteristics of sustainable development strategies by universities, such as devoting a specific sustainability reporting section in the university website, creating a sustainability body in the university structure or submitting the sustainability report to external assurance.

Research limitations/implications

This study refers only to Spanish public universities. In the future, new studies can enlarge the sample and analyse country effects and impact of public versus private status of universities on sustainability reporting strategies.

Practical implications

The study’s findings are important for university community, regulators and other stakeholders to start considering the need to somehow promote further sustainability reporting and assurance practices by universities, especially in a context of budget restrictions.

Originality/value

This paper opens up a new line of research on sustainability experience using an innovative methodology (fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis) useful with small sample sizes, and provides a complete picture of sustainability reporting by Spanish public universities.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Naif Alghamdi, Alexandra den Heijer and Hans de Jonge

The purpose of this paper is to analyse 12 assessment tools of sustainability in universities and develop the structure and the contents of these tools to be more…

Downloads
2184

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse 12 assessment tools of sustainability in universities and develop the structure and the contents of these tools to be more intelligible. The configuration of the tools reviewed highlight indicators that clearly communicate only the essential information. This paper explores how the theoretical concept of a sustainable university is translated into more measurable variables to support practitioners and academics in assessing sustainability in universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The main method for this paper was a desk study approach, which incorporated reviewing research papers, graduate theses, academic books, network platforms and websites.

Findings

The tools reviewed share similar traits in terms of criteria, sub-criteria and indicators. Five benchmarks are essential for a holistic framework: management; academia; environment; engagement and innovation.

Practical implications

This research can not only be used to improve existing assessment tools but also as a means to develop new tools tailored for universities that face a variety of challenges and lack the ability to measure their sustainability policies.

Social implications

Making higher education more sustainable through all the criteria mentioned influences students, as well as staff, to maintain a culture of sustainability.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature by simplifying and detailing the structure and contents of the tools in a way which indicators are shown, giving a full picture of these tools to enable universities to be more aware of the sustainability issues that affect them.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Deborah Agostino and Martina Dal Molin

The purpose of this paper is to explore the coherence between sustainability conceptualization (the “what”) and its implementation (the “how”) in terms of implemented…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the coherence between sustainability conceptualization (the “what”) and its implementation (the “how”) in terms of implemented actions and stakeholders’ interactions. The paper proposes a grid approach for the simultaneous evaluation of sustainability conceptualization and implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on a multiple case study conducted in ten Italian Universities. In-depth interviews with general directors and administrative staff responsible for sustainable activities have been conducted together with documents and websites analysis.

Findings

The coherence between sustainability conceptualization and its implementation showed heterogeneity of practice. Results propose a grid approach, which highlights six different approaches to explain the connection between the “what” and the “how” of sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

The research is focused on Italian universities and may have overlooked approaches to campus sustainability specific of other countries.

Practical implications

Understanding the coherence between the “what” and the “how” of sustainability can provide university managers with a practical tool of analysis when approaching and evaluating the sustainable campus.

Originality/value

While higher education scholars are widely exploring the conceptualization of a sustainable campus and its implementation, little is known about the coherence between these two realms, despite their importance to facilitate the transition of sustainability vision into real practice. This study contributes to this area by proposing a grid approach to evaluate the coherence between sustainability conceptualization and implementation.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 2 January 2018

Erica Udas, Monique Wölk and Martin Wilmking

Nowadays, several higher education institutions around the world are integrating sustainability topics into their daily operations, functionality and education systems…

Abstract

Purpose

Nowadays, several higher education institutions around the world are integrating sustainability topics into their daily operations, functionality and education systems. This paper presents a case study from a pilot project implemented by the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald (hereafter, Greifswald University), Germany on its way towards a “carbon-neutral university”. The purpose of this paper is to share an institutional process targeting a gradual transformation towards achieving carbon neutrality. This might be relevant to other higher education institutions striving for a systematic and progressive change from a traditional system to a low emission or carbon-neutral pathway.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve carbon neutrality, three major transformative strategies were adopted: carbon reduction, carbon offsetting and mainstreaming sustainable actions via teaching and research.

Findings

A locally adaptable institutional framework on sustainability was successfully developed to: promote changes in daily operations, implement interdisciplinary research, incorporate sustainability into teaching and education and enhance outreach programs. Strong commitment from all stakeholders resulted in reduction of the university’s carbon footprint from 8,985 to 4,167 tCO2e year−1. Further, the unavoidable emissions could be locally offset through enhanced carbon sequestration on the university-owned forests.

Originality/value

Based on the experiences of Greifswald University, this paper presents major challenges and success lessons learned during the process of gradual institutional transformation to achieve the target of carbon neutrality.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 19 July 2021

Yusuf A. Adenle, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman and Oluwole A. Soyinka

As one of the buzzwords in the present age with considerable impacts in tertiary institutions, social media use in online teaching, learning and information dissemination…

Abstract

Purpose

As one of the buzzwords in the present age with considerable impacts in tertiary institutions, social media use in online teaching, learning and information dissemination have been extensively discussed in extant literature. This paper aims to explore the existing campus sustainability appraisal (CSA) tools to identify the length at which social media has been used, especially in environmental sustainability indicators’ selection and empirical verification.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is mainly based on a desktop study involving comprehensive review and content analysis of existing CSA tools’ documents. Webpage content analysis of selected sustainability monitoring and tracking system in higher education institutions was also conducted.

Findings

The tools' content analysis reveals insufficient utilization of social media data and platforms in campus sustainability environmental-dimension indicators selection. To bridge this identified research gap, social media user-generated content for appraising the campus-wide environmental sustainability indicators preference in tertiary institutions was proposed.

Practical implications

The adoption and modification of this study’s proposed approach by tertiary institutions, especially in sub-Saharan African countries, could help address most campus-wide environmental challenges raised, commented on and discussed on social media.

Originality/value

This study contributes to knowledge gaps by revealing the extent of social media utilization in extant tools. With the expanding utilization of different social media platforms by various tertiary institutions worldwide, their administrators' responsibility is to put these social media data into fair use.

Details

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

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 22 October 2019

Semen Son-Turan and Wim Lambrechts

The purpose of this paper is to explain the extent and content of the sustainability disclosure of public and foundation (private but not-for-profit) universities in Turkey.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the extent and content of the sustainability disclosure of public and foundation (private but not-for-profit) universities in Turkey.

Design/methodology/approach

Subsequent to a systematic literature review of six academic databases and the National Thesis Center, a content analysis using a combination of Global Reporting Initiative and campus assessment tools from previous studies is conducted on stand-alone sustainability reports and websites of a purposive sample of eight universities in Turkey.

Findings

Infrequent and unsystematic sustainability practice done through websites seems to be more prevalent than formal reporting through international initiatives. Research and practice diverge by focusing on different sustainability indicators. Sustainability needs to be integrated into teaching and curriculum through university policies and regulations. Foundation universities show greater effort in sustainability reporting than public universities.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited by the availability of mostly self-reported, dispersed and unaudited data by foundation universities in addition to framework-imposed specificities. Furthermore, there is only one public university with a formal sustainability report in the sample.

Practical implications

The findings offer suggestions for developing extra sustainability indicators and may assist local policy-makers and researchers in their efforts to improve sustainability reporting by local universities.

Originality/value

This comprehensive research effort is one of the few studies from a non-Western country perspective and the only study on Turkey in relation to universities and sustainability reporting.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 3000