The sustainability challenge at universities An assessment of actual efforts and how these are ranked

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Over the years, universities have formulated strategies on how to adequately incorporate sustainability. The implementation of these strategies are communicated internally and externally. However, some universities have found a way to effectively do this, where other universities seem to struggle. The performance of universities has been measured by numerous ranking lists for over decades, but measuring universities’ sustainability performance is relatively new. All ranking lists consider certain indicators to be important, which are used to assess how universities are doing in terms of their sustainability ambitions. However, there might be a discrepancy between what universities actually do, and what is measured by ranking lists with regard to sustainability efforts. The aim of this research was to provide more insight into this discrepancy, so it can be better specified what needs to be improved. This research focused on three Dutch universities: the Radboud University, Wageningen University & Research, and the University of Groningen. Several influencing factors seem to have an impact on universities in terms of the outcome of their sustainability efforts, and these are context specific. A recommendation was given for the Radboud University to help it improve on sustainability efforts, and on the performance in ranking lists as well.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen