Title: Sustainability reporting at German and Austrian universities

Authors: Kerstin Lopatta; Reemda Jaeschke

Addresses: Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany ' Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany

Abstract: This paper advances the development of a 'universal' reporting framework for higher education. It is the first paper that reviews the current state of sustainability reporting in German and Austrian universities. Although playing a leading role in promoting sustainable development movements, universities strongly lag behind on sustainability reporting due to missing reporting guidelines. In-depth expert interviews critically assess the applicability of existent assessment tools by testing internal data collection procedures. A framework set in relation to its reporting costs and based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines was developed to analyse the reporting performance level of universities in Germany and Austria. Results show that sustainability reporting in higher education is still in its infancy considering quantity and quality. Reports focus equally on environmental, economic and educational dimensions with limited scopes on social equity. Results are relevant to university management in implying improvements on performance data analysis further enhancing the amount and quality of sustainability information on campus.

Keywords: sustainability reporting; higher education; Germany; Austria; Global Reporting Initiative; GRI; corporate social responsibility; CSR; universities; campus sustainability; assessment tools; sustainable development; reporting framework.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEED.2014.059868

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, 2014 Vol.5 No.1, pp.66 - 90

Available online: 17 Mar 2014 *

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