UK university sustainability agenda: underlying motivations

Adesina, O. and Shevchenko, K. (2013) UK university sustainability agenda: underlying motivations. In: 25th CSEAR Conference, 3rd-6th September, University of St Andrews.

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Sustainability reporting in the private sector is a mature and well documented research area and there is evidence that it achieves both commercial and social outcomes. In addition, a sustainability paradigm sets off a search process for an overall review and reorientation of business organisations. Less studied is a growing trend in sustainability reporting within the university sector where organisational goals are more likely to focus on social outcomes and where decision making, maybe more decentralised to capture a broad range of stakeholder interests. Sustainability reporting is a voluntary activity used to assess the current economic, environmental and social dimensions of an institution, and then communicate these dimensions and associated progress (or lack of) to stakeholders. While university self-reporting efforts are visible and growing, little is known about the drivers of their sustainability agendas.

The study examines the financial reports, voluntary sustainability reports and marketing material of 124 UK universities in the Times Higher Education league tables over a five year period (2008-2012). Using legitimacy theory, the study explores how universities use environmental, social and governance disclosures (ESG analysis) as an innate part of their stewardship role (normative motivations) and compares this to their use as a marketing tool (instrumental motivations).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions > HC0079.E5 Environmental economics
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > The Business School
Depositing User: Dr Seyi Adesina
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 14:27
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2015 14:30

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00