University sustainability reporting: taking stock of transparency

Sara Bice, Hamish Coates

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper interrogates the case for improved and broadened public sustainability reporting by universities, and explores whether and how global performance measures capture the institutional attitudes and activities pertinent to universities’ contributions to sustainability. The analysis explores all stand-alone, English language reports produced by universities world-wide since 2007. The analysis focuses primarily on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) index. The paper finds that those universities which have adopted the GRI share a distinct conceptualisation of their role in society. The GRI framework is helpful in capturing universities’ environmental impacts and benefits, but is lacking in relation to universities’ human rights and social concerns. The paper identifies value in universities adopting a globally accepted sustainability reporting framework and makes specific suggestions as to how the framework might be better adapted for universities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    JournalTertiary Education and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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