Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Sustainability Barriers

  • Rozélia LaurettEmail author
  • Arminda do Paço
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_188



Sustainability barriers may be defined as the obstacles seen in respect of the implementation of sustainability efforts.


Barriers can be considered as situations or issues that make the execution of an activity or action difficult. We can compare the barrier to an obstacle and a difficulty to an impediment. The paths to sustainability are full of barriers (Milbrath 1995). Sustainability tends to take into account the economic, social, and environmental aspects (Elkington 1994) so that future generations can meet their needs, according to the most famous definition of sustainable development, from the Brundtland’s (1987) Report.

Even with the definitions laid down given by Elkington (1994) and Brundtland (1987), according to Milbrath (1995) and Paiva Duarte (2015), there is little agreement on...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Brundtland GH (1987) Report of the World Commission on environment and development: “our common future”. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Choi S, Ng A (2011) Environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability and price effects on consumer responses. J Bus Ethics 104(2):269–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chowdury MM, Hossain MM, Dewan MN (2015) A framework for selecting optimal strategies to mitigate the corporate sustainability barriers. Corp Ownersh Control 13(1):462–481Google Scholar
  4. Elkington J (1994) Towards the sustainable corporation: win-win-win business strategies for sustainable development. Calif Manag Rev 36(2):90–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Evans N, Whitehouse H, Gooch M (2012) Barriers, successes and enabling practices of education for sustainability in far North Queensland schools: a case study. J Environ Educ 43(2):121–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Horhota M, Asman J, Stratton JP, Halfacre AC (2014) Identifying behavioral barriers to campus sustainability: a multi-method approach. Int J Sustain High Educ 15(3):343–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kuppig VD, Cook YC, Carter DA, Larson NJ, Williams RE, Dvorak BI (2016) Implementation of sustainability improvements at the facility level: motivations and barriers. J Clean Prod 139:1529–1538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lozano R (2008) Envisioning sustainability three-dimensionally. J Clean Prod 16(17):1838–1846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Milbrath LW (1995) Psychological, cultural, and informational barriers to sustainability. J Soc Issues 51(4): 101–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Paiva Duarte F (2015) Barriers to sustainability: an exploratory study on perspectives from Brazilian organizations. Sustain Dev 23(6):425–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Stewart R, Bey N, Boks C (2016) Exploration of the barriers to implementing different types of sustainability approaches. Procedia CIRP 48:22–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. United Nations Development Programme – UNDP (2016) Sustainable development goals. Available on: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/brochure/SDGs_Booklet_Web_En.pdf. Accessed 20 Nov 2017
  13. Wilson IE, Rezgui Y (2013) Barriers to construction industry stakeholders’ engagement with sustainability: toward a shared knowledge experience. Technol Econ Dev Econ 19(2):289–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management and EconomicsNECE, University of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

Section editors and affiliations

  • Evangelos Manolas
    • 1
  1. 1.Democritus University of ThraceThraceGreece