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Time and Sustainability Metrics in Higher Education

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of considering time in the assessment and measurement of sustainability. The article combines a sociological perspective on time with a qualitative assessment of the representation of time in higher education sector sustainability reporting. Data from a sample of 30 institutions in 11 countries for the period 2005–2011 on greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste sent to landfill are examined. This chapter highlights the importance of considering past and future perspectives when assessing or measuring sustainability. The higher education sector has the capacity to take a longer term perspective on sustainability than the business sector as it is not subject to market and short-term pressures in the same ways. Combined with the sector’s capacity to act as agents of change, there is significant potential to influence behaviors and attitudes in business, government, and the community toward sustainability. This chapter reports on research in progress and findings should be considered preliminary. The analysis of representations of time and sustainability in higher education institutions documents is indicative and is based on a purposive sample, deliberately chosen in order to explore perspectives on time. The chapter highlights how the higher education sector is uniquely placed to influence the ways in which sustainability is assessed and measured.

Keywords

  • Time
  • Universities
  • Higher education
  • Sustainability
  • Measurement
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

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Derrick, S. (2013). Time and Sustainability Metrics in Higher Education. In: Caeiro, S., Filho, W., Jabbour, C., Azeiteiro, U. (eds) Sustainability Assessment Tools in Higher Education Institutions. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02375-5_3

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