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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2021

Bifeng Zhu, Gebing Liu and Jing Feng

This paper aims to make a comparative study on the latest version of green campus evaluation standard between China and America: Green Campus Evaluation Standard…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to make a comparative study on the latest version of green campus evaluation standard between China and America: Green Campus Evaluation Standard (GB/T51356-2019) and the sustainability tracking, assessment and rating system (STARS 2.2). The differences of evaluation methods and contents are analyzed and their respective characteristics and advantages are sorted out, so as to promote the development of sustainable campus evaluation standards.

Design/methodology/approach

The research mainly adopts the method of comparative study, which is carried out from three dimensions, namely, the related policies development of campus construction and world university sustainable rankings; the content of evaluation standards (including evaluation methods and evaluation categories and scores); the characteristics and current application of standards.

Findings

There are great differences between the evaluation standards of China and America in organization and participation mode, evaluation method and content. Public engagement, energy and campus engagement are the hot spots. Buildings, energy, food and dining and investment and finance will become the focus of sustainable campus in the future. Specific optimization strategies of key points, evaluation method and content and organization and participation mode of Chinese standard are put forward.

Practical implications

This paper clarifies the advantages and disadvantages of the current global sustainable campus, and provides the basis for the next stage of construction policy. At the same time, it is helpful for all countries, especially China, to formulate construction guidelines that not only meet their own actual needs but also conform to the trend of global sustainable campus development.

Social implications

The connotation of sustainable campus is enriched, and the evaluation standards of sustainable campus are improved. The development of sustainable campus is promoted, so as to realize the sustainable development goals.

Originality/value

This research expands the scope of the study to the whole campus, rather than just one aspect of campus buildings. It compares the evaluation standard of green campus in China with STARS in the USA, and no longer compares leadership in energy and environmental design for schools. It discusses the campus building’s energy conservation while paying attention to the campus green consciousness, green management and green planning. Based on the relevant data currently used by STARS in the global evaluation, this paper analyzes the hot spots and shortcomings of the current global sustainable campus construction and puts forward some optimization suggestions for China’s green campus evaluation system.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 September 2021

Mohamad Saifudin Mohamad Saleh, Normalini Md Kassim and Naziru Alhaji Tukur

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between a sustainable university brand and the intention of international students to study at Universiti Sains Malaysia…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between a sustainable university brand and the intention of international students to study at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), one of Malaysia’s premier universities. Moreover, the study explored the moderating effect of opinion leaders on the intention of international students to study at USM.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey involving 391 international students was conducted using a self-assessment questionnaire, data from which were analysed using partial least squares structural equation modelling.

Findings

Empirical data show that USM’s sustainability brand had a positive impact on international students’ intention to study at the university, but opinion leaders had no significant sway in influencing this decision. This finding could be attributed to USM’s established reputation as a sustainable university, which helps cement its standing as the top choice for international students.

Research limitations/implications

This research only focussed on international students at one Malaysian university. Hence, the findings are not generalisable, in particular, to illuminate the experiences of students at non-Malaysian institutions, whose contexts are inevitably different than Malaysia’s.

Practical implications

This study offered a dimensional insight into the university management on the pivotal branding of sustainability as one of the important tools for attracting international students to study at the university. In light of the findings, it is suggested that universities magnify their efforts to support the sustainable agenda, to help create a sustainable university brand that adds value to the interests of stakeholders.

Originality/value

Universities are continuously faced with challenges in terms of branding. Besides, not many universities are branded as sustainable universities despite the high involvement in sustainability-focused activities. Research has scarcely focused on the influence of the “sustainable university brand” on the marketing effort of the university to international students. In studies where this topic was highlighted, they focused on the opinion leader as the moderating influence of the choice of university amongst international students.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 December 2020

Luis-Alberto Casado-Aranda, Sandra Sofia Caeiro, Jorge Trindade, Arminda Paço, David Lizcano Casas and Ana Landeta

Universities are continually transforming its structure and governance in response to the new social, environmental and economic challenges. Particularly, there has…

Abstract

Purpose

Universities are continually transforming its structure and governance in response to the new social, environmental and economic challenges. Particularly, there has recently been a growing academic interest for measuring sustainable practices of higher education institutions (HEI) aiming to monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, as well as transform them into more sustainable organizations. More recent studies began to focus also on the sustainable performance of distance education Universities. So it became crucial to evaluate their sustainability practices through sustainability assessment tools with the aim of improving their sustainability performance and boosting their role as agents of academic, social and economic change. The purpose of this study is to assess and compare holistically sustainability implementation in two similar distance learning universities and to evaluate their advantages and disadvantages.

Design/methodology/approach

One of the most rigorous and internationally used sustainability assessment tools was used – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, to evaluate and compare sustainability implementation in two distance universities, one from Spain and another from Portugal: the Madrid Open University and Universidade Aberta. Indicators of both universities were compared and ways of improvement in both universities were widely discussed.

Findings

The results of this research show that there is a similar pattern in both universities. Both have low performance in campus operations and low levels of community participation but good performance in sustainability courses and programmes offer. The results of both institutions were compared and allowed a learning process for improvement.

Originality/value

This research hopes to contribute to the continuous research about the usefulness of sustainability assessment tools in particular when applied to distance universities at the time that offers new paths to carry out improved sustainable practices in crucial areas of interest such as research, administration, education and resource-saving. This research also highlights the value of distance learning universities and their ability to be more sustainable after the advent of COVID-19.

Article
Publication date: 4 June 2020

Murillo Vetroni Barros, Fabio Neves Puglieri, Daniel Poletto Tesser, Oksana Kuczynski and Cassiano Moro Piekarski

Some universities have a commitment to both academic education and sustainable development, and the sustainable development goals can support several sustainable actions…

Abstract

Purpose

Some universities have a commitment to both academic education and sustainable development, and the sustainable development goals can support several sustainable actions that universities may take as principles and attitudes. From this perspective, the purpose of this study is to present environmentally sustainable practices at a federal university in Brazil and to analyze and discuss the potential environmental impacts associated with an environmentally sustainable practice implemented using life cycle assessment (LCA) and its benefits for the university’s decision-makers.

Design/methodology/approach

To accomplish that, the study combines a description of environmentally sustainable practices at the 13 campuses of the Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná (UTFPR) in terms of education, water and electricity consumption, waste management and emissions. As a result of this analysis, one campus identified that a high volume of disposable plastic cups were being disposed of, for which the use of reusable plastic cups was introduced. In addition, an LCA study (ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006) quantified the benefits of the introduction of said reusable plastic cups.

Findings

The results show that the university is working on environmentally sustainable initiatives and policies to become greener. At the same time, using a systematic LCA made it possible to measure that replacing disposable plastic cups for reusable ones reduced waste generation but increased water consumption on the campus. Faced with this, a sensitization was carried out to reduce water consumption. Finally, the current study provides lessons on the environmental performance to universities interested in sustainable practices, fostering perspectives for a better world. The findings of this study encourage organizations to accomplish environmental actions toward greener universities. The study shows that institutions need to be reflective and analytical about how even “greening” measures have impacts, which can be mitigated if necessary.

Practical implications

The sustainable practical implications were reported, and an LCA was conducted to assess potential environmental impacts of reusable plastic cups. It was identified that raw material production is the phase that generates most environmental impacts during the life cycle of the product, along with the consumer use phase, due to the quantity of water used to wash the reusable cups. In addition, the practical contributions of this study are to provide insights to institutions that aim to use environmental actions, i.e. suggestions of sustainable paths toward a greener university.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to investigate and discuss sustainable practices at UTFPR/Brazil. The study assessed one of the practices using a scientific technique (LCA) to assess the impacts of reusable plastic cups distributed to the students of one of the 13 campuses. Although there are other studies on LCA in the literature, the value of this study lies in expanding what has already been experienced/found on the use of LCA to assess environmental practices in university campuses.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 March 2017

Deniz Zaptcioglu Celikdemir, Gonca Gunay, Alev Katrinli and Sebnem Penbek Alpbaz

The purpose of this paper is to define the sustainable university in Turkey, by considering perspectives of various stakeholders such as experts, intellectual, public…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to define the sustainable university in Turkey, by considering perspectives of various stakeholders such as experts, intellectual, public, political parties and media using public opinion formation analysis. The paper aims to re-define the “sustainable university” with all dimensions including environmental, economic and social factors in Turkey.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the model of shaping the policy agenda and public opinion formation by certain groups, presented by Papadakis (1996), was used to determine the main characteristics of a sustainable university. Based on this model, the researchers collected data from intellectuals, experts, political parties, media and public simultaneously. Focus groups and archival search were used.

Findings

The results of the public opinion formation process presented that the definition of sustainable universities in Turkey includes the economic, ecological and social aspects and a holistic view of different groups. The findings of the study presented that the definition of sustainable universities in Turkey has many facets. Different groups in the public opinion formation process share almost similar views, though these points are usually mentioned under different headings. Thus, nearly each respondent in the public opinion formation process discusses the concept of being a “trade mark” as a university.

Research limitations/implications

The research may lack generalizability, as it takes place in Turkey, which is a non-Western country.

Practical implications

The research sheds a light for universities, which are the major cornerstones of higher education, especially in the area of sustainability and sustainable development. Also, universities have a great impact in regional development, which stresses once again the importance of sustainability in higher education. They should modify their education programs and curricula in accordance with sustainability. University–industry cooperation should be provided. They should manage to become a trademark.

Social implications

Universities being the major cornerstones of higher education play a vital role in regional development of countries; therefore, their sustainable development should be well handled to enable regional development.

Originality/value

The universities are the major actors which should pursue sustainability, as they affect society. The studies on sustainability and universities have been generally grouped under two main subjects in the literature. First group of studies highlights the support of universities for sustainability of corporations, whereas other studies stress the importance of becoming a sustainable university. There are not many studies on this subject which considers the public opinion formation process throughout the literature; therefore, this study contributes to the literature with this aspect. The study takes place in Izmir, Turkey, which is a non-Western country. Most of the studies on this subject take place in Western countries, so as the study is deployed in a non-Western country, it reflects a different point of view.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Abstract

Purpose

There is a widely held belief that sustainable development (SD) policies are essential for universities to successfully engage in matters related to sustainability, and are an indicator of the extent to which they are active in this field. This paper aims to examine the evidence which currently exists to support this assumption. It surveys a sample of universities in Brazil, Germany, Greece, Portugal, South Africa and the UK and the USA to ascertain the extent to which universities that are active in the field of sustainable development have formal policies on sustainable development, and whether such policies are a pre-condition for successful sustainability efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved 35 universities in seven countries (five universities respectively). A mixed-methods approach has been used, ranging from document analysis, website analysis, questionnaires and interviewing.

Findings

Although only 60 per cent of the sampled universities had a policy that specifically addressed SD, this cannot be regarded as an indicator that the remaining 40 per cent are not engaged with substantial actions that address SD. Indeed, all of the universities in the sample, regardless of the existence of a SD formal policy, demonstrated engagement with environmental sustainability policies or procedures in some form or another. This research has been limited by the availability and ability to procure information from the sampled universities. Despite this, it is one of the largest research efforts of this kind ever performed.

Research limitations/implications

This research has been limited by the availability and ability to procure information from the sampled universities.

Practical implications

The findings provide some valuable insights into the connections between SD policies on the one hand and the practice of sustainable development in higher education institutions on the other.

Social implications

Universities with SD policies can contribute to models of economic growth consistent with sustainable development.

Originality/value

The study is the one of the largest research efforts of this kind ever performed.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 May 2022

Marcellus Forh Mbah, Sandra Ajaps, Ane Turner Johnson and Sidat Yaffa

While the possibility of a university fostering sustainable development is present in the extant literature and policy documents, the idea still warrants further…

Abstract

Purpose

While the possibility of a university fostering sustainable development is present in the extant literature and policy documents, the idea still warrants further consideration. Therefore, this paper aims to identify the nature and outcomes of the university’s engagement with Indigenous communities and perceptions of Indigenous knowledge systems in both academic and non-academic activities, and what might be required to foster the university’s contributions towards sustainable development.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative case study of the only public university in The Gambia was conducted, including non-university actors. Interviews and focus group discussion methods were used, and these enabled close collaboration between researchers and participants, and the latter were empowered to describe their perceptions of reality.

Findings

Three major sets of findings emerged from the analysis of the transcripts from interviews and focus group discussions with the university and community members. These are the limited nature of and outcomes from university–community engagement, the sustainable outcomes of Indigenous practices and ideas for Indigenising university engagement for sustainable development.

Practical implications

Particular implications of the study that underpins this paper can be underscored; these include: a contribution to the literature on ways of connecting Indigenous communities with universities, and to a conceptualisation of the Indigenised university; a provision of insights into the connectivity between university community engagement, Indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable development; the creation of a context for subsequent studies on practical steps that universities might take in the direction of epistemic justice and sustainable development for all; and heightening the intractability of theoretical and philosophical issues of epistemology, knowledge ecology and epistemological justice, as they reveal themselves in practice, in complex situations.

Originality/value

Matters of the university reaching out to Indigenous peoples have yet to find their way into conceptualisations of the university for sustainable development. This paper addresses this gap in the existing literature by advancing possibilities for the Indigenised university for sustainable development to emerge.

Details

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

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 March 2021

Suzanna Elmassah, Marwa Biltagy and Doaa Gamal

Higher education institutions (HEIs) should play a fundamental role in achieving the international 2030 sustainable development (SD) agenda. Quality education is the…

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education institutions (HEIs) should play a fundamental role in achieving the international 2030 sustainable development (SD) agenda. Quality education is the fourth of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and one of the targets related to this is to ensure that by 2030 all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote SD. Therefore, the SDGs provide a motive for HEIs to integrate SD concepts into their day-to-day practices. This study aims to introduce a framework for HEIs’ sustainable development assessment. Such a framework guides HEIs and educational leaders to support their countries’ commitments to achieving the SDGs.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of a case study analysis of the role and successful techniques of HEIs in achieving SD in three countries, namely, Germany, Japan and Egypt. Primary data was collected by semi-structured interviews with three Cairo University officials, while secondary data was collected by reviewing the universities' official websites, reports, publications and related papers. This study introduces a novel framework for HEIs' SD analysis and assessment, which guides HEIs and educational leaders to support SD to fulfill their countries' commitments to achieving the SDGs. This framework is based on the following five categories: strategic direction and institutional working practices, supporting students, supporting university staff competencies, supporting society's stakeholders and networking and sustainable campus. Consideration is given to the potential role of HEIs to support SD in each of these areas.

Findings

Cairo University could learn from the novel and pioneer practices of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, and the University of Tokyo to fill in the gaps it has in different roles. It can also put more effort into adopting the suggested higher education programs of Egypt's Vision 2030.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited to a case analysis comparing three countries, Germany, Japan and Egypt. Second, this study has not considered school education, which is equally essential in countries' SD.

Practical implications

HEIs can use the framework and the findings in this paper to evaluate their current roles in supporting SD, identify the gaps and take actions accordingly to address their weaknesses.

Originality/value

The paper compares three universities, one in each of the case study countries. It draws conclusions that identify ways in which the paper's framework and findings can guide SD practice in HEIs internationally, especially those in the developing world.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Gisele Mazon, João Marcelo Pereira Ribeiro, Carlos Rogerio Montenegro de Lima, Brenda Caroline Geraldo Castro and José Baltazar Salgueirinho Osório de Andrade Guerra

This paper aims to analyze the sustainability approach within higher education institutions. Universities, as institutions of knowledge, play an important and strategic…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyze the sustainability approach within higher education institutions. Universities, as institutions of knowledge, play an important and strategic role in maximizing social and economic benefits in a hands-on way. However, some studies on sustainable development and HEIs reveal a distancing between students and the application of sustainable initiatives in universities. This fact differs from the premises of the Talloires Declaration, which points to students as a community and as global leaders and ambassadors for sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper mapped the approaches, present in the literature, used to develop sustainable campuses and in particular the apparent dichotomy between the changes indicated as top-down or bottom-up in HEIs. To that end, scientific articles focused on sustainable actions in HEIs were analyzed to identify implementation approaches for sustainable development and student involvement in the process.

Findings

Results have shown that sustainability promotion models in universities generally occur in a top-down manner, where students are receptors and not sources of development for sustainable policies in universities. Thus, the authors highlight the importance of students becoming central players in sustainable initiatives.

Originality/value

The article becomes original when it identifies the dichotomy between top-down and bottom-up approaches. It does so through multidimensional scaling and exploratory factorial analysis in scientific articles on the topic Sustainability Funding in Higher Education. These findings show that, unlike what is discussed in the literature, sustainability promotion in universities generally occurs in a top-down manner, where students are receptors and not active agents in promoting sustainability. In response to this, the authors discussed the importance of the bottom-up approach, where they are key players.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2000

Hans van Weenen

Sustainable development is the biggest challenge to universities in the twenty‐first century. As many different definitions and interpretations of the concept exist, it is…

9508

Abstract

Sustainable development is the biggest challenge to universities in the twenty‐first century. As many different definitions and interpretations of the concept exist, it is not surprising that the strategies of the universities that are beginning to strive for sustainability show some differences. Various universities have already become engaged in the process of integrating sustainable development in their activities. Some examples of such universities are presented, including the experiences of the University of Amsterdam. The diverging strategies of sustainable universities are classified to clarify the differences and to stimulate and advance the debate. Inevitably, management, research, education, communication and operation of any university with a genuine interest in sustainable development will have to change. However, if, as it seems, universities are deeply involved in current world‐wide patterns of unsustainability, could it perhaps be that existing university structures need to be replaced by a completely new type of “universal knowledge network” which is derived from a totally different paradigm of their role and function? In this article some clear indications are given about the meaning of sustainable development in this context in order to provide directions and guidelines for university strategies and practices. The consequences of the concept for universities are indicated and, finally, a possible model for a sustainable university is proposed.

Details

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

Keywords

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