University sustainability league tables: Institutionalising 'nature deficit disorder'?

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Authors: Jones, D.R.

Journal: Greener Management International

Issue: 57

Pages: 105-131

ISSN: 0966-9671

The underlying assumption behind this paper's aim is that, while universities are being rated highly for their performance around popular, externally accredited sustainability league table criteria, such as implementing management systems approaches (e.g. IS014001) and carbon management and performance, there is little evidence that these explicit and visible tick-box criteria are radically changing behaviour towards sustainability among universities' stakeholders. This paper attempts to rectify this situation by focusing on the UK's People and Planet's 'Green League Table'. It endeavours to challenge even the leading universities and organisations to reflect on the question of whether they are fostering a climate followship culture of demotivated, reactive, detached, efficient and self-interested bureaucrats. Alternatively, by framing the climate and wider sustainability threat in fundamentally different ways, could universities engage a broader range of stakeholders to foster a sustainability transitional and transdisciplinary change? It will draw its inspiration from evolutionary psychology, introducing the organising root metaphor of the 'biophilic university', defined as: 'A university which restores an emotional affinity with the natural environment'. This metaphor is named after the biophilia hypothesis originally proposed by Stephen Kellert. © Greenleaf Publishing 2012.

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