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Article
Publication date: 21 February 2020

Leaya Amey, Ryan Plummer and Gary Pickering

This study aims to better understand the communication of sustainability by Canadian universities, specifically the use of websites, interactive features and sustainability plans.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to better understand the communication of sustainability by Canadian universities, specifically the use of websites, interactive features and sustainability plans.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 95 Canadian universities were included in this study. The mixed-methods approach sought to capture the communication of sustainability via websites, the interactive features used, as well as to evaluate the quality of sustainability plans.

Findings

The study revealed that 67% of universities address sustainability on their websites. On average, universities offer three to four interactive features on their sustainability-related Web pages, and the average score of the quality of campus sustainability plans was 29 (out of 41).

Research limitations/implications

This study does not investigate the extent to which interactive features enhance the involvement and participation in sustainability efforts or the extent to which the sustainability plans were put into practice by universities.

Practical implications

The findings assist with understanding how higher education institutions (HEIs) can enhance their sustainability communication via their websites to encourage interaction and engagement in campus sustainability. The findings can also help universities to enhance the effectiveness of sustainability plans.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research to assess sustainability content and the interactive features on sustainability-related pages of Canadian universities’ websites. The quality of sustainability plans is also evaluated. The study informs the present understanding of communicating sustainability by Canadian universities and provides a basis for future investigations in HEIs in Canada and beyond.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Elizabeth Semeraro and Neil M. Boyd

Administrators in higher-education settings routinely create planning documents that help steer the organization in mission-centric ways. In the area of sustainability

Abstract

Purpose

Administrators in higher-education settings routinely create planning documents that help steer the organization in mission-centric ways. In the area of sustainability planning, strategic plans, sustainability plans and climate action plans are the most common methods used. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if specific forms of planning predict sustainability outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

This question was evaluated via an empirical archival study of the AASHE STARS database in relation to planning, administration and governance credits and criteria to determine if specific forms of planning were predictive of sustainability implementation outcomes in the categories of Education and Research, Operations, Diversity and Affordability, Human Resources, Investment, Public Engagement and Innovation.

Findings

Findings support the notion that climate action plans were most predictive of achieving sustainability outcomes, and strategic plans were best able to predict educational outcomes.

Practical implications

These findings have important implications for the design and execution of sustainability planning processes in higher-education institutions.

Originality/value

The academic literature contains relatively few empirical studies that demonstrate the capacity of planning on the realization of sustainability outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2018

Amanpreet Kaur and Sumit Lodhia

The purpose of this paper is to examine how stakeholders are engaged in the sustainability accounting and reporting processes of Australian local councils.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how stakeholders are engaged in the sustainability accounting and reporting processes of Australian local councils.

Design/methodology/approach

Managerial stakeholder theory through the use of the notion of stakeholder salience provides a theoretical basis for exploring stakeholder engagement in the sustainability accounting and reporting process. Case study research was used to explore the stakeholder engagement practices of three Australian local councils. Data collection methods included interviews and document analysis.

Findings

The findings of this research identified the importance of stakeholder engagement in the entire sustainability accounting and reporting process, the development of strategic plans and sustainability indicators, the measurement of sustainability performance and the preparation of sustainability reports.

Research limitations/implications

This study, by integrating the sustainability accounting and reporting literature with the stakeholder salience concepts of power, legitimacy, urgency and proximity, illustrates the critical role of stakeholder engagement in the sustainability accounting and reporting process of three local councils.

Practical implications

This study has implications for public sector organisations (PSOs) and their stakeholders in relation to stakeholder engagement in sustainability accounting and reporting. The findings of this study will also be useful to corporations in understanding the importance of stakeholder engagement in sustainability accounting and reporting.

Social implications

The public sector is expected to be a leader in sustainability and this paper provides evidence of three councils who through their stakeholder engagement provide exemplars of useful practices that could be adopted by other entities.

Originality/value

Prior research in PSOs has primarily focused on the sustainability accounting and reporting process but has given limited consideration to the involvement of stakeholders. The focus on stakeholder engagement through the use of managerial stakeholder theory extends the role of stakeholders from merely being an audience for sustainability reports to an influential contributor in the sustainability accounting and reporting process.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Panagiotis Petratos and Evangelia Damaskou

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the effects of campus sustainability planning to annual campus energy inflows and outflows in California higher…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the effects of campus sustainability planning to annual campus energy inflows and outflows in California higher education. The paper also offers a preliminary statistical analysis for the evaluation of impact factors on energy outflows and a link between energy outflows and building utilization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports two campus examples University of California Merced and California State University Stanislaus, analyzing 36-months’ campus energy outflows data. It uses statistical linear regression analysis to determine the most significant impact factors to energy outflows and what is their relationship. Finally, the paper draws on building utilization data and presents sustainability management strategies for campus energy conservation which make the most of building utilization and contributes to campus sustainability planning efforts.

Findings

Statistics analysis considered ten multiple models of linear regression to identify the greatest impact factors on campus energy outflows. Interestingly, the overshadowing positive impact factor is renewable energy credits (RECs) which is expected as is required by California energy law. After removing RECs, cost of RECs and cost of electricity from further statistical analysis, we re-compute linear regression for the remaining variables, and natural gas outflows have the strongest – negative – relationship with energy outflows. In this study, it is demonstrated how sustainability planning applies to campus green building design criteria; how much do sustainable campus buildings cost; how sustainability planning affects the inflows and outflows of energy during the period of one academic year; and what are the direct benefits of campus sustainability planning and design to faculty, students, staff, administrators, environment and society.

Research limitations/implications

The research is focused on two campus examples in California higher education and may have overlooked some campus sustainability plans and energy data from other California campuses. Nevertheless, it is a fairly comprehensive analysis of campus sustainability planning efforts and their effects on energy conservation.

Practical implications

Campus sustainability plans and their effect on campus energy inflows and outflows are very important. Understanding the details and potential effects of impact factors to energy conservation can help broader adoption and implementation of sustainability planning.

Originality/value

As an emerging method for campus sustainability efforts, statistical analysis of multiple linear regression models allows colleges and universities to examine energy conservation and align it with campus sustainability planning operational, academic and administrative functions in an integrated manner. To date, very little scholarly attention has been paid to the effects of sustainability planning on campus-level energy conservation, and no prior attempt has been made to consider how they might be analyzed statistically.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Stacey Swearingen White

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the use of integrated campus sustainability plans at US institutions of higher education. The paper also offers a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the use of integrated campus sustainability plans at US institutions of higher education. The paper also offers a preliminary framework for the evaluation of these plans.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines 27 campus sustainability plans. It determines the types and characteristics of the institutions that have adopted these plans. It then uses content analysis techniques to determine their typical contents and emphases. Finally, the paper draws on literature pertaining to sustainability plans and plan evaluation to present a preliminary tool for evaluating campus sustainability planning efforts.

Findings

Campus sustainability plans in the USA are extremely diverse. Environmental aspects are most prominent in these plans, and social equity aspects are least prominent. Campus operations receive more attention than do academic or administrative aspects. Most campuses have taken an inclusive, campus-wide approach to developing their sustainability plans. The evaluation of these plans should consider both their process and their substance and should account for circumstances unique to higher education.

Research limitations/implications

The research is focused on US colleges and universities and may have overlooked some campus sustainability plans that have other titles. Nevertheless, it is a fairly comprehensive analysis of campus sustainability planning efforts to date in the USA.

Practical implications

Campus sustainability plans are an important integrative tool. Understanding the details and potential evaluation of these plans can help determine their broader adoption and implementation.

Originality/value

As an emerging tool for campus sustainability efforts, sustainability plans allow colleges and universities to examine operational, academic, and administrative functions in an integrated manner. To date, there has been very little scholarly attention to these plans, and no prior attempt to consider how they might be evaluated.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2017

Katelin Barron and Shih Yung Chou

This paper aims to develop a spirituality mode of firm strategic planning processes that incorporate four basic firm spirituality elements, namely, transcendence, an…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop a spirituality mode of firm strategic planning processes that incorporate four basic firm spirituality elements, namely, transcendence, an inexhaustible source of will, a basic and supreme power and interconnectedness and oneness, used for promoting corporate and community sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual analysis was performed.

Findings

Drawing upon prior research, this paper suggests that there are four major spiritual elements of the firm, namely, transcendence, an inexhaustible source of will, a basic and supreme power and interconnectedness and oneness. Additionally, this paper proposes that to promote long-term sustainability and survival of the firm and community, firms can place strong emphasis on firm transcendence when establishing the vision and mission statements. Moreover, firms may need to assess environmental conditions based upon an inexhaustible source of will. Furthermore, when formulating and selecting strategic alternatives, firms can utilize a basic and supreme power. Finally, firms may implement selected strategic alternatives and strategic controls with interconnectedness and oneness mentality.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first studies that develop a spirituality mode of strategic planning processes focusing on both corporate and community sustainability.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2018

Rocio Rodriguez, Göran Svensson and David Eriksson

The purpose of this paper is to examine the logic and differentiators of organizational positioning and planning of sustainability initiatives between private and public…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the logic and differentiators of organizational positioning and planning of sustainability initiatives between private and public organizations in the healthcare industry. Sustainability initiatives refer to organizations’ economic, social and environmental actions.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on an inductive approach judgmental sampling and in-depth interviews of executives at private and public hospitals in Spain have been used. Data were collected from the directors of communication at private hospitals, and from the executive in charge of corporate social responsibility in public hospitals. An empirical discourse analysis is used.

Findings

The positioning and planning of sustainability initiatives differs between private and public hospitals. The former consider sustainability as an option that is required mainly for social reasons, a bottom-up positioning and planning. It emerges merely spontaneously within the organization, while the sustainability initiatives in public hospitals are compulsory. They are imposed by the healthcare system within which the public hospital, operates and constitutes a top-down positioning and planning that is structured to accomplish set sustainability goals.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study is that it is undertaken exclusively in Spanish organizations from one industry. This study differs from previous ones in terms of exploring the positioning and planning of the sustainability initiatives, which focus on the organizational logic of such sustainability initiatives. There are both common denominators and differentiators between private and public hospitals.

Practical implications

The logic of determining the positioning and planning of the sustainability initiatives is mainly about satisfying organizational needs and societal demands. Nowadays, organizations tend to engage in sustainability initiatives, so it is essential to understand the logic of how organizations position and plan such efforts.

Originality/value

This study investigates the path that follows sustainability initiatives in public and private organizations. It reports mainly differentiators between private and public organizations. It also contributes to explaining the organizational reasoning as to why companies make decisions about sustainability initiatives, an issue which has not been addressed sufficiently in existing theory studies.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2014

Craig Thomson and Mohamed El-Haram

Sustainability action plans are emerging as a management tool to facilitate the delivery of sustainability objectives which are planned, measured and achievable in…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability action plans are emerging as a management tool to facilitate the delivery of sustainability objectives which are planned, measured and achievable in practice. The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential to support an integrated approach to delivering sustainability across the phases of a construction project. A holistic approach to sustainability is promoted which aims to be understandable, managed and aligned with available sustainability assessment methods.

Design/methodology/approach

The application of a sustainability action plan is explored in the Greater Middlehaven Regeneration Project (UK). Six key stakeholders were interviewed to consider the rational of its application, structure, role of sustainability assessment and contribution to project development and delivery. Two workshops involving practitioners and experts in sustainable construction explored the implications for the wider context.

Findings

A framework around which sustainability can be managed through a series of integrated tailored action plans applied across each project phase was highlighted. Clear benefits were presented in facilitating the sharing of knowledge, communicating aspirations and in providing leadership to project members.

Research limitations/implications

The case study enjoys a supportive environment to embed best practice and thus full appreciation of potential barriers to implementation in other contexts was not possible.

Practical implications

The research illustrates the need to promote a common sustainability legacy across the project phases and highlights the role of a sustainability action plan in facilitating this consistency.

Originality/value

A holistic approach founded on an understandable philosophy remains innovative in practice and explored are its value and implications.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2011

David Grayson

The British retailer Marks & Spencer aspires to be the world's most sustainable major global retailer by 2015. This paper seeks to examine how the company is embedding…

Abstract

Purpose

The British retailer Marks & Spencer aspires to be the world's most sustainable major global retailer by 2015. This paper seeks to examine how the company is embedding sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is written as part of an ongoing investigation into how businesses do this. It is based on direct dialogue with corporate sustainability specialists inside and outside the company; participation in company stakeholders' briefings held regularly since the launch of Marks & Spencer's Plan A for sustainability in January 2007; and analysis by the company's own corporate sustainability specialists about how they are embedding.

Findings

This case demonstrates that, in order to speed their journey, Marks & Spencer have aligned sustainability with core strategy. Top leadership is driving the strategy, which is overseen by the board. M&S have made a very public commitment: Plan A with measurable targets, timescales and accountabilities. The strategy is being integrated into every business function and strategic business unit; and involves suppliers, employees and increasingly customers. To enable implementation, the company is developing its knowledge‐management and training; engaging with wider stakeholders including investors; building partnerships and collaborations; and has evolved its specialist sustainability team into an internal change‐management consultancy and coach/catalyst for continuous improvement.

Originality/value

The value of the case study is that it provides an analysis of how one company, which has been active in progressing corporate sustainability, has evolved its approach in recent years.

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2018

Stuart Orr and Akshay Jadhav

This paper aims to introduce a supply chain strategy for supply chain sustainability performance and explain why it is different to normal business/operations strategy.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to introduce a supply chain strategy for supply chain sustainability performance and explain why it is different to normal business/operations strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of supply chain managers and detailed case studies of three successful supply chain sustainability organisations identified four components of a supply chain sustainability strategy, the mechanisms behind them and how they interacted.

Findings

Sustainability leadership, supply chain member involvement in organisational sustainability initiatives, supply chain member involvement in supply chain sustainability strategy planning and technical competency were identified as the four components of a sustainable supply chain strategy. Sustainability leadership legitimises the objectives and involvement of the staff in supply chain-oriented sustainability initiatives and planning. Technical competency provides the capability and language necessary for the development of a supply chain sustainability strategy. This is different to business/operations strategy, however, parallels to other forms of strategy constructs support its ability to achieve performance improvement.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on data from developed countries; the findings may be different for emerging economies. Potential hypotheses for future research are suggested.

Practical implications

The supply chain sustainability strategy will enable organisations to improve the sustainability of their supply chains. Its application is described in the paper.

Originality/value

The paper develops a strategy framework different to the approach taken in business/operational strategy. It indicates how the sustainability performance of supply chains external to the organisation is increased through their interconnectedness with the organisation.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

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