Topic Room "Reporting and Governance"
How can informal and formal barriers to the implementation of sustainability be overcome? How can the implementation of sustainability at HEI's be assessed properly? And what are the opportunities and risks of sustainability reporting and ranking? These and other issues were raised in this topic room.
Slot 1 ‒ Governing sustainability at Higher Education Institutions
|Presentation Spanish universities social councils attitudes towards environmental sustainability||C. Bayas Aldaz; A. Sandoval Hamón; F. Sánchez Fernández; F. Casani Fernández de Navarrete; J. Rodríguez Pomeda, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)|
|Presentation How can management control systems contribute to implementing institutional sustainability strategies? The case of higher education institutions||Prof. Dr. Edeltraud Guenther; Nicolas Roos; Xaver Heinicke; Prof. Dr. Thomas W. Guenther, Dresden University of Technology (Germany)|
|Poster Bottom-up transformation of universities: students as change agents for sustainability||Jana Holz, Network-n (Germany)|
|Presentation Empowering sustainability initiatives at the university - an evaluation of the project "Wandercoaching" by Network-n||Karen Hamann; Prof. Dr. Gerhard Reese, University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany)|
|Poster Sustainability at universities: Degrees of institutionalization for sustainability at German higher education institutions - a categorization pattern||Kathrin Rath; Dr. Claudia T. Schmitt|
In this first slot several presentations and posters have focused on the topic of sustainability at Higher Education Institutions and how to govern it. Many HEIs are changing their operations in order to integrate sustainable development in managing their facility. They transform their missions and restructure curricula, research programs and the interaction with other social actors. The HEIs play a key role in the (sustainable) development of the society, so their actions imply relationships with internal and external agents.
But how does a HEI become sustainable? Who is responsible and who has the power to make decisions? Is it top-down or bottom-up?
Several examples have been mentioned, e. g. the approach of Spanish universities and the Spanish Social Council, which is the main body to represent the public interests in universities and therefore acts as a bridge between society and the institution.
Another approach is the Wandercoaching by netzwerk n, which is a tool to empower student sustainability initiatives at universities in Germany as students are one of the most important change agents for SD.
But also the Management Control Systems (MCS) can help to implement institutional sustainability strategies at HEIs.
This slot was moderated by Mara Bauer, Universität Vechta.
Slot 2 ‒ Creating a Base Model for Sustainable-Development-Platforms
|Workshop Creating a base model for sustainable development platforms using the clearing house mechanism||Björn Ahaus, Initiative für Nachhaltigkeit e. V.; Albert Hölzle; Alireza Sohofi, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany); Alena Schüren, Bochum University of Applied Science (Germany)|
The first workshop of the day led by Björn Ahaus, Albert Hölzle, Alena Schueren and Alireza Sohofi had the title
"Creating a base model for sustainable development platforms using the clearing house mechanism."
It animated the participants to design a base model for sustainable development platforms, which can be used on the campus, but also generally. Many stakeholders are contributing effectively, but there is always a coordination office required in order to keep it going.
With the clearing house mechanism, as the speakers argue, there is a more effective way to organize this kind of cooperation by focussing on information processing, networking, exchange, developing ideas, and collaboration all at once. A clearing house platform is basically a creation of a vibrant and interactive community of individuals using and sharing their knowledge and capabilities to reach the common goal of sustainable development in the best possible way.
In this interactive session the clearing house mechanism was applied on three existing facilities in order to find out how and where they can be improved:
- Sustainability Office Birkenfeld
- Sustainability Office Magdeburg
- Living Lab Delft
The findings during the session, which was conducted using the Pro Action Café methodology, were:
- that such a platform can lower the barrier to participate…
- …but it is often not that easy to get people involved. If too few people participate, it will not work. So the objective is the participation of everybody!
- to motivate students, there should be an incentive, such as credit points or certificates of participation
- you have to identify and address all potential interest groups, e.g. through targeted advertising
- a platform for the whole university is missing, where students AND professors can exchange knowledge and skills
- it provides personal contacts, joint events and a good time in a community based on common values and goals
To sum up: The clearing house mechanism is a tool to facilitate sustainability processes and a way to design a base model for sustainable platforms, where everybody can contribute. It can be used for sharing information, developing ideas and collaboration.
This slot was moderated by Mara Bauer, Universität Vechta.
Slot 3 ‒ Opportunities and risks of sustainability reporting and ranking
|Poster HOCH-N-Poster-Reporting||WP-Sustainability Reporting|
|Poster Sustainability reporting as project learning: example for cooperative Education for Sustainable Development-processes at Universität Hamburg||Dr. Claudia T. Schmitt; Sophie Palm, University of Hamburg (Germany)|
|Presentation Higher education institutions´ pathway towards sustainability reporting||Coco Klußmann, Free University Berlin (Germany); Elisa Gansel, University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany); Dr. habil. Remmer Sassen, University of Hamburg (Germany)|
|PresentationExperiences of enhancing the sustainability report of the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld by following the German Sustainability Codex||Prof. Dr. Klaus Hellling; Jenny Eichelhard, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, University of Applied Sciences Trier (Germany)|
|Presentation Sustainability curriculum coverage in the sustainability reports of UK universities||Katerina Kosta, Oxford Brookes University (United Kingdom)|
The first slot on the second day focused on the opportunities and risks of sustainability reporting and ranking. Sustainability reporting is not only considered to be an important instrument to implement sustainability, but also to evaluate and communicate the sustainability performance, to set goals and impacts on the society. But there is still only a small percentage of universities in Germany that publish a sustainability report and if they do, they are very heterogeneous regarding content, knowledge, experiences, processes and resources. One reason might be a missing overall used standard for sustainability reporting at HEIs.
The beta version of the German sustainability code (DNK) was developed by the German council for sustainable development and issued in May 2016. It provides standardized reporting guidelines for the unique demands of HEIs.
There is only a small number of HEis in Germany that publish a sustainability report, but the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld (ECB) is one of the pilot universities in adapting the beta version of the DNK and published a sustainability report in 2017 as Jenny Eichelhard and Prof. Dr. Klaus Helling showed in their presentation with the title
"Experiences of enhancing the sustainability report of the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld by following the German Sustainability Codex".
The HOCHN work package “Sustainability Reporting” consisting of Prof. André Niemann, Prof. Alexander Bassen, Dr. Remmer Sassen, Elisa Gansel and Coco Klußmann has two aims:
- to generate an alpha version of the DNK (based on the beta version) in a participatory process and
- to provide a guideline for applying the code and its reporting criteria by evaluating the experiences of the partaking HEIs.
Therefore, the overall aim is to facilitate and enhance the implementation of sustainability reporting at German HEIs by providing a well-designed toolbox. Find more information in their presentation
"Higher education institutions' pathway towards sustainability reporting (PDF).
The problem of a heterogeneous and infrequent nature of sustainability reports is also present at the HEIs in the UK as Katerina Kosta mentioned in her presentation
"Sustainability curriculum in the sustainability reports of UK universities" (PDF).
But additional to reports, which record what has been achieved, there should also be an institution’s sustainability strategy to stipulate aims and targets and to remove the barriers to incorporating sustainability in the HE curriculum.
This slot was moderated by PD Dr. Remmer Sassen, Universität Hamburg.
Slot 4 ‒ Measuring and assessing sustainability at Higher Education Institutions
|Presentation Determinants in the adoption of sustainability assessment tools in higher educational institutions||
Antonio C. Mercer; Fernanda Frankenberger; PhD Ubiratã Tortato, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (Brazil)
|Presentation Sustainability assessment tools: a choice framework for higher education institutions||
Fernanda Frankenberger; PhD Ubiratã Tortato; D.F. Santos, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (Brazil)
|Workshop Discussing criteria for assessing integration of sustainable development into teaching at tertiary education institutions||
Dr. Anne Zimmermann; Lilian J. Trechsel; Dr. Karl G. Herweg; Prof. Dr. Doris Wastl-Walter, University of Bern (Switzerland)
The first presentation in this slot had the name
"Determinants in the adoption of sustainability asessment tools in higher educational institutions"
and was presented by Antonio C. Mercer, Fernanda Frankenberger and PhD Ubiratã Tortato and introduced the sustainability assessment tools (SAT) that have been developed to provide guidance towards a sustainable development at HEIs.
The interactive workshop
“Discussing Criteria for Assessing Integration of Sustainable Development into teaching at tertiary Education Institutions”
of Dr. Anne Zimmermann, Lilian J. Trechsel, Dr. Karl G. Herweg and Prof. Dr. Doris Wastl-Walter initially presented the case of the University of Bern’s ESD mainstreaming effort including its newly devised set of criteria, and then focused on the participant’s own assessment frameworks and processes on SD at their HEIs by using the Group InVEntion Method (GIVE©) by SPES to discuss their monitoring power. Find further information in the presentation (PDF) or in the summary of the results (PDF).
This slot was moderated by PD Dr. Remmer Sassen, Universität Hamburg.
Slot 5 ‒ Overcoming informal and formal barriers to the implementation of sustainability
|Presentation What hampers and what fosters sustainable operations in higher education? A systematic review of barriers and success factors||
Dr. Anne-Karen Hueske; Prof. Dr. Edeltraud Guenther, Dresden University of Technology (Germany)
|Poster Intrapreneurship in universities: "the dreamers who do [sustainability]"||
Friederike Sonnenberg, University College Maastricht, Maastricht University
|Presentation Working with sustainability: institutionalisation perceptions at the University of Gävle||
Dr. Kaisu Sammalisto, Dr. Rodrigo Lozano, Robin von Haartman, University of Gävle (Sweden)
Sustainability at Higher Education Institutions: Criteria for Tracking and Assessment (KriNaHoBay)
Prof. Dr. Ingrid Hemmer, Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt; Lara Lütke-Spatz, Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt; Prof. Dr. Markus Vogt, LMU Munich
To review studies on sustainable operations in HEIs, the External environment Organization Group and Individual (EOGI) barrier model is applied in a study of the Dresden University of Technology in cooperation with the University of Applied Science Zittau/Görlitz. Thereby it provides the state of the research in barriers and success factors in sustainable operations in higher education and can provide recommendations for implementing measures for sustainable operations in HE. For further insights into this topic please have a look at the presentation of Dr. Anne-Karen Hueske, Eric Schoen, Prof. Dr. Bernd Delakowitz and Prof. Dr. Edeltraud Guenter:
"What hampers and what fosters sustainable operations in higher education? A systematic review of barriers and success factors (PDF)"
The presentation of Dr. Kaisu Sammalisto, Dr. Rodrigo Lozano, Robin von Haartman with the title
"Working with sustainability: institutionalisation perceptions at the University of Gävle"
dealt with the issue that the University of Gävle - which has been working with sustainability issues for the last 25 years - was surveyed for a paper, which focused on how faculty and staff work with sustainability in their functions. The paper showed an increased understanding and acceptance of the topic but also especially the more prominent dimension of social sustainability, compared to an earlier study where the environmental focus was dominating. Sustainability has gone beyond the stage of incorporation and is moving towards a deeper institutionalization, where it is important to engage with the university stakeholders to better institutionalize sustainability at HEIs.
The Green Office Model at the University of Maastricht (UMGO) is a student-run sustainability department and part of a research project with the target to evaluate how sustainability is practiced to develop new experiential knowledge of how to transformation pathways towards sustainability in the university’s organizational structures . The UMGO functions as a hub for sustainability trying to induce organizational transformations, but is suffering from a lack of visibility and outreach and is therefore stagnating in generating innovation. The lean start-up methodology as a tool for mitigating risks in a fast-paced, effective product development has gained momentum and offers opportunities for intrapreneurs at HEIs. These intrapreneurs, such as the UMGO, are one of the main drivers towards organizational transformation towards sustainability because they create a interdependency between the key stakeholders. You can find more information on the poster presented by Friederike Sonnenberg:
“Intrapreneurship in Universities: 'The dreamers who do [sustainability]' ” (PDF)
This slot was moderated by Wolfgang Denzler, Universität Hamburg.
Slot 6 ‒ How to spread and promote sustainability at Higher Education Institutions
Poster Sustainable development at the University of Tübingen
Dr. Diana Grundmann; Carla-Pasqua Herth, University of Tübingen
Workshop Ways to promote sustainable development through university policy
Lorenz Keyßer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (Switzerland)
Dr. Diana Grundmann and Carla-Pasqua Herth presented the poster
"Sustainable development at the University of Tübingen"
and pointed out the mission statement of their institution: "The university of Tübingen acknowledges the maxim of sustainable development. It regards sustainability as an integral part of research and teaching." On different levels and in an interconnected way, the university implements specific measures for SD and ESD, e.g. in teaching and learning, research, operation and governance. These areas are closely linked to the five action areas of the UNESCO roadmap for the Global Action Programme.
The following workshop with the title
"Ways to promote sustainable development through university policy"
focused on the important role of the university policy in determining a university’s contribution to sustainability, how it can be influenced and used to promote sustainabl development. It was led by Lorenz Keyßer, a student from ETH Zürich and coordinator of the Sustainability Week university’s policy team.
Firstly he introduced to the methods the Sustainability Week has used to promote sustainability institutionally and presented his knowledge about achievements, challenges and mistakes. In the interactive session the participants discussed what has already been done at their own institutions and defined some aspects for their vision of a perfect sustainable university:
- Sustainable curriculum and research projects
- transdisciplinary tasks for students
- having a lot of time and space for sustainability
- 1 year program “philosophicum-ökologicum”
- Learning to think (students and teachers)
- Relate to global problems
- Carbon-neutral campus
- Active in teaching and learning
This slot was moderated by Mara Bauer from the University of Vechta.