A content analysis of sustainability declaration in Australian universities

  • YEAR
    Khoshbakht, Maryam
    Zomorodian, Mahsa
    Tahsildoost, Mohamad
    2020 Conference Papers
    Building, Tectonics & Energy; Design Education & Research; History & Theory in Architectural Science; Modes of Production & Mass Customization; Smart & Intelligent Cities
    Conference Papers


This paper aims to provide an overview of a content analysis of the sustainability declaration status of Australian universities. The report presents findings on the orientations evident in the published policies, reports and plans attributed to sustainability. A sample of 27 documents from Australian universities was selected based on the availability of sustainability reports, plan and policies. A collaborative coding approach was used to conduct a qualitative thematic content analysis of these sustainability documents. Results show that most sustainability documents described three pillars of sustainability principles, environmental, social and economic; however, most institutions have placed a great emphasis on environmental assessments. Campus sustainability implementations in universities can be broadly categorized into three classes of teaching, research and operations. Discussions in relation to curriculum and research were vague, and instrumental strategies to implement sustainability in education and research were less discussed. Most institutions emphasized operations, and energy, waste, water and transport were discussed by most documents, while the concepts of procurement and supply chain, and pollution appeared less frequently in the studied documents. This critical review paper provides a broad overview of sustainability declarations from Australian universities, and endeavors to present a comparison of sustainability concepts and priorities in universities.

Keywords: Higher education; campus sustainability; sustainability transformation; content analysis.


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