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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2014

Yifei Li

Since the publication of the 1987 Brundtland Report, discussions about sustainable development have been nothing short of a buzz among politicians and academics. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Since the publication of the 1987 Brundtland Report, discussions about sustainable development have been nothing short of a buzz among politicians and academics. This chapter takes stock of an emerging strand of the sustainable city literature that recognizes local political dynamics, conflicts of interest, and power struggles.

Approach

The review is organized into three sections. The first section reviews how past studies have utilized sustainable urban development as an opportunity for advancing theories of urban politics, highlighting recent developments in the growth machine, regulatory state, and risk society theses. The second section examines a range of studies that place the questions of scale, unit, and boundary at the center of inquiry. The third section draws together a body of research that interrogates different meanings of sustainability.

Implications

The first section discusses the extent to which social and political processes in the sustainability age exhibit a pattern consistent with established theoretical accounts. The second section focuses on studies that address how urban sustainable development has brought challenges to existing configurations of spatial relations. These studies pose important methodological and epistemological questions for studying environmental politics. In the third section, the focus is placed on political implications of urban sustainable development, which is subject to multiple interpretations.

Originality

This chapter ends with a review of an emerging thesis – strategic urbanism, which draws attention to the patterns of change in urban politics. Much of the contributions to this thesis are based on urban sustainability politics in recent years.

Details

From Sustainable to Resilient Cities: Global Concerns and Urban Efforts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-058-2

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Article
Publication date: 17 May 2021

Daniela Perbandt, Marie-Sophie Heinelt, Paula Bacelar-Nicolau, Mahsa Mapar and Sandra Sofia Caeiro

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several…

Abstract

Purpose

Distance universities are of great importance for establishing sustainability literacy, as they operate as multipliers for thousands of students. However, despite several advantages of e-learning environments compared to traditional class-teaching, there are still challenges regarding suitable e-learning tools and didactical models. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of several e-learning tools on students’ knowledge and skills growth and to compare two learning paths, synchronous vs asynchronous, exploring how each affects the level of students’ knowledge achievement and skills acquisition.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analysis is based on an online course “Participatory processes in environmental politics”. International MSc and PhD students who enrolled in the course were from FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany) and Aberta University (Portugal). The course was designed as the flipped classroom, applying different e-learning tools and activities, some synchronous and others asynchronous. A pre- and post-evaluation questionnaire was applied to evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. Descriptive statistical analyses were carried out on this data.

Findings

Results showed that in the synchronous group, knowledge about theoretical approaches to citizen participation and sustainable environmental governance improved to a greater extent, whereas the asynchronous group showed greater improvement in nearly all skills related to intercultural communication and e-learning. Also, in the synchronous path, students enhanced their knowledge on “research application” to a greater extent.

Originality/value

Evaluating the effectiveness of different e-learning tools on students’ sustainability knowledge and information and communication technologies skills is a fundamental issue. The study discusses these issues, contributing to enhancing the use of adequate and grounded e-learning models on sustainable development in higher education.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2013

Brian Coffey

The purpose of this paper is to assess recent strategic sustainability policy, planning and assessment efforts in Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess recent strategic sustainability policy, planning and assessment efforts in Victoria, Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretive approach to policy analysis provides the methodological foundation for the analysis. Evidence is drawn from the analysis of policy texts and semi‐structured interviews.

Findings

Sustainability attracted considerable policy attention in Victoria during the first decade of the 21st century, with stated ambitions for Victoria to become “the sustainable state” and “world leaders in environmental sustainability”. In pursuing these ambitions, Victoria's efforts centred on hosting a summit, articulating medium‐term directions and priorities, releasing a whole of government framework to advance sustainability, and establishing a Department of Sustainability and Environment, and a Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. However, the evidence indicates these efforts would have benefited from greater public engagement and input, stronger governance arrangements, and a broader conceptualisation of sustainability.

Practical implications

The evidence presented highlights the implications associated with efforts to promote sustainability through strategic policy and planning processes.

Originality/value

This paper provides an informed, yet policy relevant, analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and possibilities associated with pursuing sustainability at the sub‐national level. It also highlights the ways in which policy objectives can be frustrated by failing to establish the solid foundations necessary for building a robust approach to promoting sustainability. The value of progressing sustainability within a strategic improvement cycle is also highlighted.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2021

Subhash Abhayawansa, Carol A. Adams and Cristina Neesham

Drawing on Adams (2017a) conceptualisation of value creation by organisations published in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, the purpose of this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on Adams (2017a) conceptualisation of value creation by organisations published in the Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, the purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptualisation of how national governments can create value for society and the economy through their approach to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Design/methodology/approach

An initial conceptual framework was developed from literature situated at the intersection of accountability, public policy and sustainability/sustainable development. The authors' review of extant research on national policy development on value creation, sustainability and the SDGs identified gaps in (understanding of) approaches to national accountability and national governance (by state and civil society) processes. The subsequent thematic analysis of 164 written submissions made to the Australian Senate inquiry on the SDGs between December 2017 and March 2018, together with transcripts of five public hearings where 49 individuals and organisations appeared as witnesses during the second half of 2018, focussed on addressing these gaps.

Findings

Input to the Australian Senate Inquiry on the SDGs overwhelmingly emphasised the importance of transparency and stakeholder participation in accountability systems, commenting on data gathering, measuring and communicating. There was an emphasis on the need to involve all parts of society, including business, investors and civil society, and for strong central co-ordination by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. These data allowed the authors to refine the conceptualisation of how national governments can enhance social and economic value through a focus on the UN SDGs and their approach to accounting, accountability and governance.

Practical implications

The findings have implications: for national governments in developing approaches to achieve sustainable development; and, for supranational bodies such as the UN in developing agreements, frameworks and guidance for national governments.

Originality/value

Building on the extant literature about how global governance should be engaged to improve accountability in achieving the SDGs, the conceptual framework developed through the study shifts focus to national governance and accountability, and provides a blueprint for national governments to create value for the economy and society in the face of global sustainable development issues.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2020

Pradeep Kautish, Arpita Khare and Rajesh Sharma

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between value orientation, i.e. terminal and instrumental values, consumer sustainability consciousness and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between value orientation, i.e. terminal and instrumental values, consumer sustainability consciousness and behavioral intentions toward environmental-friendly products and its influence on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) endorsement.

Design/methodology/approach

Structured questionnaires were administered on 410 respondents from northwestern India. The two-step approach proposed by Anderson and Gerbing (1988) was employed to assess the measurement and structural models.

Findings

Terminal and instrumental values influenced consumer sustainability consciousness. Sustainability consciousness influenced behavioral intentions which endorsed consumers' SDG. Instrumental value had a greater impact on consumer sustainability consciousness and behavioral intentions than terminal value. Consumer sustainability consciousness partially mediated the relationship between terminal/instrumental value and behavioral intentions for SDG endorsement.

Research limitations/implications

The findings will help marketers to endorse SDG promotion by linking them with values and develop an understanding of consumers' sustainability consciousness for SDG implementation.

Practical implications

Green marketers, policymakers and SDG promoters should develop messages to communicate and emphasize the importance of purchasing environmental-friendly products. From a functional perspective, it affects instrumentality orientation and societal responsibility toward the implementation of SDG.

Social implications

The current study proposed an action-oriented, integrated, aspirational and universally applicable SDG framework. The findings may pioneer the way forward for sustainability-oriented consumption.

Originality/value

This research is the first of its kind that examined the relationships between value orientations (Rokeach, 1973) and their effect on consumer sustainability consciousness and behavioral intentions in SDG milieu.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 38 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

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Book part
Publication date: 23 March 2017

Barbara de Lima Voss, David Bernard Carter and Bruno Meirelles Salotti

We present a critical literature review debating Brazilian research on social and environmental accounting (SEA). The aim of this study is to understand the role of…

Abstract

We present a critical literature review debating Brazilian research on social and environmental accounting (SEA). The aim of this study is to understand the role of politics in the construction of hegemonies in SEA research in Brazil. In particular, we examine the role of hegemony in relation to the co-option of SEA literature and sustainability in the Brazilian context by the logic of development for economic growth in emerging economies. The methodological approach adopts a post-structural perspective that reflects Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory. The study employs a hermeneutical, rhetorical approach to understand and classify 352 Brazilian research articles on SEA. We employ Brown and Fraser’s (2006) categorizations of SEA literature to help in our analysis: the business case, the stakeholder–accountability approach, and the critical case. We argue that the business case is prominent in Brazilian studies. Second-stage analysis suggests that the major themes under discussion include measurement, consulting, and descriptive approach. We argue that these themes illustrate the degree of influence of the hegemonic politics relevant to emerging economics, as these themes predominantly concern economic growth and a capitalist context. This paper discusses trends and practices in the Brazilian literature on SEA and argues that the focus means that SEA avoids critical debates of the role of capitalist logics in an emerging economy concerning sustainability. We urge the Brazilian academy to understand the implications of its reifying agenda and engage, counter-hegemonically, in a social and political agenda beyond the hegemonic support of a particular set of capitalist interests.

Details

Advances in Environmental Accounting & Management: Social and Environmental Accounting in Brazil
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-376-4

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Lisa Powell and Carol Tilt

For more than three decades, researchers have been searching for evidence of corporate economic, social and environmental sustainability, the holy grail of corporate…

Abstract

Purpose

For more than three decades, researchers have been searching for evidence of corporate economic, social and environmental sustainability, the holy grail of corporate success in a socially and environmentally conscious world of the future. The vast majority of entities that researchers have investigated have focussed on the primary goal of profit maximisation, with only vaguely articulated (if any) social and environmental targets. Very little research has been undertaken to expose the inner workings of organisations that are striving primarily to improve environmental outcomes within a commercial setting. The purpose of this paper is to expose the inside details of an organisation that tried but failed, and highlights the role of power and politics in its demise.

Design/methodology/approach

The “processual” or “contextualist” (Burns, 2000, p. 568) methodology adopted in this investigation has facilitated the interpretation and understanding of complex inter-relationships existing amongst key management personnel. The method steps undertaken included observation and documentation of organisational strategic and operational decision-making practices over a period of 22 months and the examination and analysis of over 800 documents prepared either by or about the organisation.

Findings

Examining the inter-relationships of power and politics amongst key players during a period of significant change revealed an intense struggle for corporate survival between two management groups: the original “environmentalist” managers who prepared the entity for listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX); and, the introduced “economic rationalist” managers who guided it through the post listing phase. A failure to effectively transition the power held over resources, decision-making and meanings from the old to the new managers proved to significantly challenge the organisation and possibly contributed to its ultimate demise. Some important lessons were highlighted, particularly the need to develop and establish shared understandings. It is suggested that for a business to move closer to being sustainable, rather than allowing one of the existing paradigms to dominate, a new business model needs to emerge.

Originality/value

The practical implementation of conservation activities on a large commercial scale is a controversial notion. The investigation of this unique case through a period of significant change represents an important experiment in the quest for sustainability and reveals valuable lessons that may guide other organisations that follow in its wake.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Fernanda de Paiva Duarte

This paper aims to explore the views of employees from a local government organization in Brazil regarding the status of “sustainability learning” in their workplace…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the views of employees from a local government organization in Brazil regarding the status of “sustainability learning” in their workplace. Sustainability learning refers to knowledge produced to address environmental risks.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study design highlighting the personal experience of participants in relation to sustainability learning. Data collected through seven face-to-face, semi-structured interviews during a six-week fieldwork. Purposive sampling was used, and recruitment was carried out through the snow balling method. Deductive and inductive logic were used in data analysis.

Findings

Sustainability-focused learning only took place informally in the organization studied. The organization did not have formal systems to embed sustainability learning in its rules, processes and practices. It was also found that organizational politics acted as an impediment to sustainability learning, as people in power often blocked support for sustainability related initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

Data would have been richer if more than one case study was developed, as this would have enabled inter-organizational comparisons and richer analysis.

Practical implications

This research is useful for practitioners, as it contributes to a better understanding of desirable sustainability learning practices and processes, and challenges that prevent it from occurring effectively in organizations.

Social implications

This research contributes to a better understanding of sustainability learning in an “emerging economy” such as Brazil. The implementation of sustainability learning practices in emerging economies poses particular challenges given their emphasis on economic growth. Understanding these challenges can enable managers working with sustainability to formulate better strategies to ensure a smoother transition to a sustainable future.

Originality/value

The originality of this research is twofold: first, it examines sustainability learning in the specific context of a government institution in an emerging economy; second, it draws attention to organizational politics as a major impediment to the systematic implementation of sustainability learning practices.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Book part
Publication date: 18 July 2017

Kala Saravanamuthu

Accounting’s definition of accountability should include attributes of socioenvironmental degradation manufactured by unsustainable technologies. Beck argues that emergent…

Abstract

Accounting’s definition of accountability should include attributes of socioenvironmental degradation manufactured by unsustainable technologies. Beck argues that emergent accounts should reflect the following primary characteristics of technological degradation: complexity, uncertainty, and diffused responsibility. Financial stewardship accounts and probabilistic assessments of risk, which are traditionally employed to allay the public’s fear of uncontrollable technological hazards, cannot reflect these characteristics because they are constructed to perpetuate the status quo by fabricating certainty and security. The process through which safety thresholds are constructed and contested represents the ultimate form of socialized accountability because these thresholds shape how much risk people consent to be exposed to. Beck’s socialized total accountability is suggested as a way forward: It has two dimensions, extended spatiotemporal responsibility and the psychology of decision-making. These dimensions are teased out from the following constructs of Beck’s Risk Society thesis: manufactured risks and hazards, organized irresponsibility, politics of risk, radical individualization and social learning. These dimensions are then used to critically evaluate the capacity of full cost accounting (FCA), and two emergent socialized risk accounts, to integrate the multiple attributes of sustainability. This critique should inform the journey of constructing more representative accounts of technological degradation.

Details

Parables, Myths and Risks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-534-4

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 12 no. 4/5/6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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