Universities and sustainability

Bekessy, S and Burgman, M 2003, 'Universities and sustainability', Tela: Environment, Economy and Society, vol. 11, pp. 1-41.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Universities and sustainability
Author(s) Bekessy, S
Burgman, M
Year 2003
Journal name Tela: Environment, Economy and Society
Volume number 11
Start page 1
End page 41
Total pages 41
Publisher Australian Conservation Foundation
Abstract Universities have a responsibility to lead society towards a sustainable future. Universities prepare most of the world's managers, decision-makers and teachers, and themselves play significant roles in national and global economies. Universities across the world are now responding to these needs for more sustainable forms of human activity. Several key forces are driving this change. There is demand for expertise from students and employers. Sustainability in curriculum, research and operations confers economic and social advantages on universities. And university leaders acknowledge their responsibility in this arena. Together, these factors uniquely position universities to influence the direction society takes. But in Australia, Universities have been slow to implement sustainability policy and practice, even slower than industry in many instances. To determine current progress, we surveyed all Australian universities and a selection of international universities. The survey revealed extensive commitment and actions by universities throughout the world. Progress is reflected in growth of the number of signatories to declarations of sustainability, the development of national and international networks of university staff devoted to improvement in sustainability, and impressive innovation in environmentally sustainable design and practice. Despite these achievements, sustainability cannot yet be considered a mainstream activity in the majority of universities. There is very little evidence from universities in Australia and worldwide of integrated reporting of economic, social and environmental performance, despite leadership from progressive businesses. Additionally, several key practices were absent from most Australian universities; most noticeably ethical investment, purchasing protocols and faculty and staff development and rewards.
Subject Land Use and Environmental Planning
Copyright notice © The Australian Conservation Foundation
ISSN 0858022117
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