Sustainable Universities – From Declarations on Sustainability in Higher Education to National Law
Environmental Economics, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011
8 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 1, 2011
Declarations on Sustainability in Higher Education (SHE) can be viewed as a piece of international regulation. Over the past 30 years research at universities has produced convincing data to warn about deterioration of the environment, resource scarcity and the need for sustainability. This in turn, has put a counter pressure on the university, forcing it to review its role as a driver for sustainable development. Today, universities and intergovernmental institutions have developed more than 31 SHE declarations, and more than 1400 universities have signed a SHE declaration globally. However, it is well known that signing a declaration does not necessarily lead to implementation. This is due to the lack of incentive structures. The article examines the discursive interaction between university and intergovernmental declarations that form the basis for the design of sustainable universities. Declarations tend to have impact on three trends. Firstly, there is emerging international consensus on the university’s role and function in relation to sustainable development; secondly, the emergence of national legislation, and thirdly, an emerging international competition to be leader in sustainable campus performance.
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