The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities
This report considers the varying levels of commitment with which different Australian universities are engaging with the imperative towards environmental sustainability across the dimensions of infrastructure, management and education. It draws upon existing research into sustainability initiatives undertaken by universities in Australia and internationally.
The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities J. M. Rafferty & C. M. Oâ€™Dwyer PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES ÂŠ National Tertiary Education Union 2011. Produced by NTEU NSW Division. This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the authors or National Tertiary Education Union, PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia, phone +61 (03) 9254 1910, fax +61 (03) 9254 1915, email firstname.lastname@example.org. ISBN: 978-0-9806500-4-4 This publication is available at www.pushingtheboundaries.org.au/reports and www.nteu.org.au/nsw as an e-book and PDF download. Foreword This report has been written by members of the National Tertiary Education Union based at Charles Sturt University, with support from their union. It was presented in the context of a NSW union conference designed to look in detail at the potential contribution of workers in the education and services industries to promoting sustainability within their workplaces and their unions. The university sector in Australia has taken on a commitment to improving environmental sustainability on a number of levels. Half have signed the Talloires agreement and staff and students have formed various organisations to promote better practices at their university. The NTEU in the Enterprise bargaining round just completed has achieved environmental sustainability clauses in a number of its agreements. The impetus for this report came from members of the NTEU who wanted to unpack some of the language around sustainability initiatives and green scorecards on campuses and develop a model for ongoing engagement round this key issue impacting on the future of the university sector. The report looks in detail at six Australian universities and assesses their commitment to sustainability. It issues a challenge to the university sector in Australia to broaden and intensify its efforts for sustainability and embed these into their culture and practices. This will require a range of voices to be heard in debates and public discourse and the full engagement of university staff in decision-making around the relevant issues. The NTEU believes that this quest is core business for our members and the union and encourages all members to continue their work around active engagement in both university policies affecting sustainability and public discourse on achieving a just transition to a sustainable future. Genevieve Kelly NSW Division Secretary, NTEU The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 2 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities Executive Summary This report considers the varying levels of commitment with which different Australian universities are engaging with the imperative towards environmental sustainability across the dimensions of infrastructure, management and education. It draws upon existing research into sustainability initiatives undertaken by universities in Australia and internationally. Collating information available on the websites of six different Australian universities, the report shows that an expressed commitment to environmental sustainability is being expressed across the broad spectrum of institutional engagement: teaching and curricula design; research and planning; resource management and infrastructure. The choice to gather data from university websites has been made with the specific aim of understanding how universities represent themselves as sustainable entities. By juxtaposing this information against current analyses of sustainability trends and managerial discourses the report also demonstrates that Australian universities generally are being shaped by global and community concerns: they are responding to rather than defining and leading the debate. Although the approach means that the insights provided into sustainability practices and policies at each institution are necessarily limited, the focus of this report is on the complex interface between sustainability reporting, managerial discourses and the contested mission of twenty first century universities. The primary aim of the report is to suggest a model for integrating green initiatives across the different structural facets of higher education institutions; one which enables a consistently environmentally conscious approach while accommodating itself to the many variables typical of individual universities. The report and the model it describes is intended to initiate further discussion about the ways that universities can function as authentically sustainable communities in the 21st century. As Universities negotiate the difficult space between innovation and accountability, â€œgreen scorecardâ€? complacency and managerial discourses of containment will continue to be attractive options. However, if a deep and full engagement with all the issues presented by sustainability is to be achieved then universities must exercise their traditional mandate to inform public discourse and advance knowledge. Management must allow a spectrum of diverse and alternative discourses to influence decision making if universities are to truly meet the sustainability challenge which faces us all. The authors acknowledge and thank the NTEU for providing the funding that made this report possible. 3 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities Introduction Sustainability is not a deal, compromise or balance cannily struck between the interests and needs of the present and those of the future. All such deals are pseudo-deals, lacking warrant in principle and in practice liable to subversion by bad faith. Rather, sustainability is living the present in ways which – so far as we can tell, and given some luck – will allow us to go on, indefinitely, negotiating an unpredictably emergent reality (Foster, 2008, p.156). Governments, corporations and institutions have become increasingly more environmentally aware over the last three decades (Calder & Clugston, 2002; Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths, 2006). The management practices and policy decisions of universities have been impacted upon by this trend (Lee & Dunstan, 2010), as have curriculum planning initiatives. As argued by Cortese (2003), Lozano (2006) and FerrerBalas et al (2008), universities have a unique capacity to direct scholarly and public discourse in the sustainability debate and to establish themselves as exemplars of environmentally sound practice and long-term vision. In many ways this is already occurring. Levin, President of Yale, has pointed out that “…universities have begun to take the lead, along with enlightened corporations as well as municipal and provincial governments, in setting standards for carbon emissions that are substantially more restrictive than those adopted by national governments” (Levin, 2008). This report considers the varying levels of commitment with which different Australian universities are engaging with the imperative towards environmental sustainability across the dimensions of infrastructure, management and education. An earlier study completed by Lang, Thomas and Wilson (2006) reviewed findings of research into the adoption of education for sustainability (EfS) in Australian universities between 2000 and 2005. While all of these research studies indicated an expressed level of interest in education for sustainability at different universities, they all also remarked upon the lack of consistency and integration across curricula, disciplines and institutional structures. The most recent of the studies reviewed by Lang et al observed that “a handful of sustainability initiatives currently exist in Australian further and higher education institutions but these tend to focus on single projects to address sustainability as opposed to taking a more systemic view of learning and change across the institution” (Tilbury, Keogh, Leighton & Kent, 2005). The question which resonates throughout this report and which it seeks to answer is both simple and confronting. Are universities doing enough to meet the sustainability challenge? This report draws upon the research of Lang et al (2006), as well as those earlier studies and updates the review of sustainability initiatives in Australian universities to the present time (2010). Substantial research into EfS at school and higher education levels has already been undertaken, most notably by ARIES (Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability). We also examine education for The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 4 sustainability at the tertiary level but do this in the context of the politics and dimensions of green engagement at campus and institutional level. Our primary aim is to suggest a model for integrating green initiatives across the different structural facets of higher education institutions; one which enables a consistently environmentally conscious approach while accommodating itself to the many variables typical of individual universities. From the outset we acknowledge and strongly endorse the worth of the diverse sustainability initiatives undertaken on many campuses, the collective and individual efforts of countless motivated staff (including the many environment groups within universities) and the input of organizations such as ARIES and ACTS (Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability). We also recognize the value of policies and processes put in place by TEFMA (Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association) and the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union). The intellectual, social and infrastructural investment of all these bodies has directly and indirectly contributed to this research. In particular, funding from the NTEU made this report possible. The report and the model it describes is intended to initiate further discussion about the ways that universities can function as authentically sustainable communities. While the model we propose is certainly applicable in a broader context, we stress from the outset that the research and experiences described have been produced specifically in relation to Australian universities and their dry and fragile natural environment. We acknowledge Flannery’s assertion that Australians (because of the fragility of their natural environment and their reliance upon mineral resources) have a unique responsibility when it comes to “forging a sustainable way of living in the twenty-first century – of developing principles which might become “the guiding principles of a truly sustainable global civilization” (Flannery, 2008, p63). The body of this report is divided into three main sections. Part One engages with the language of sustainability discourse, particularly in the context of higher education and considers the development of the debate since the initial signings of the Talloires declaration in 1990. Part Two introduces and develops a model – a functional dynamic – for engaging with sustainability. This is tailored particularly to the university situation but has the potential to be adapted to another setting. Our research was initially referenced by Van Weenen’s (2000) graded template for a sustainable university but has been developed with specific attention to the Australian context and diverges significantly in relation to quantifying the differential between action and rhetoric. We have been influenced as well by the integrated phase model developed by Benn, Dunphy and Griffiths, showing how corporations move from compliance to strategic sustainability and beyond (Benn, Dunphy & Griffiths, 2006), and by Aras and Crowther’s (2008) critique of the disingenuous nature of much sustainability reporting. While acknowledging the value of most EfS initiatives, we nevertheless share the concerns expressed by Selby and Kagawa (2010) about the “straitjacketing” of discourses and approaches so that they reinforce the “dominance and sway of the occidental marketplace worldview” (Selby and Kagawa, 2010). With a view to demonstrating how our “functional dynamic” model might work in practice, Part Three considers the organizational structure and different sustainability profiles of six Australian 5 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities universities. The information we use in the study is deliberately limited to that which is publicly available. This choice, together with the decision to present the initiatives of six universities instead of making a considered comparison of a larger number was partly driven by practical= constraints of time and resources. It was influenced as well however, by the concept of abductive reasoning which offers a theoretical rationale for forming and evaluating explanatory hypotheses from partial or incomplete observation (Thagard & Shelley, 1997). Some aspects of our approach in Part Three have been shaped by the comparative analysis of sustainability conducted across seven international universities by FerrerBalas et al (2008). At stake here is the placement of sustainability planning and initiatives in the hierarchical design of university management. Despite signing the Talloires declaration, some universities still relegate the project of sustainability to facilities management. Others, not necessarily signatory to Talloires, demonstrate a substantially more serious commitment by establishing specific research units or appointing senior academic staff to lead and advocate on environmental issues for the institution. These exemplars will be discussed in detail and contextualized within the functioning dynamic model. Part One Before proceeding further, it is pertinent to consider precisely what is meant by “environmental sustainability”, to differentiate between this and “sustainable development” and to consider the ways that both terminologies have been used, especially in the university context. These terms are often used uncritically, sometimes interchangeably, while “sustainability”, frequently used alone to imply environmental sustainability, also carries weight attached to the financial, ethical and social imperatives encoded within it. The commonly accepted definition of sustainable development is that proposed by the Brundtland Report in 1987. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The report named “Our Common Future” was produced by the Brundtland Commission, which was convened by the United Nations in 1983. Formerly the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), the Brundtland commission was established to directly engage with concerns about the declining health of the natural environment and the impact of this decline upon the global economy and human populations. Following the publication of this definition, in Australia the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development, produced its own definition of “ecologically sustainable development” or “ECD” in 1992. It is as follows: “Using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased”. It has been pointed out that the open ended nature of the Brundtland definition and its lack of explicitness bring both strengths and weaknesses to the concept (Diesendorf, 1999; Brown, 2007). This is not least because the meaning of the words “sustainable” and “development” are fundamentally contradictory. Sustainable/sustainability in its traditional and more recent definitions is described as The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 6 “continuity, maintenance, supported to be the same” (OED). This definition is belied by the discourses of ecology which are foundationally underpinned by the understanding that contemporary first world living standards are destroying the natural world as we know it and that significant changes are required to be made to the way that most of us measure our aspirations and conduct our lives (Sibbel, 2009). A number of analyses have drawn attention to the fact that sustainability is an overtly anthropocentric concept (Lee 2000; Hopwood, Mellor & O’Brien 2005; Mackenzie, 2005) which risks being narrowly confined by dominant discourses (Selby & Kagawa, 2010). Similarly, while the formal meaning of development is defined as “maturation, evolution, unfolding change” (OED), it is all too often hijacked to simply mean growth, particularly in corporate and industry contexts. Used together, the words “sustainable” and “development” connote a profound anomaly where a capacity for growth is “supported indefinitely by a finite earth” (Lloyd, 2009, p.515). As Australian universities have become more corporatised (Thagard and Shelley, 1997; Allen, 1998; Marginson, 1997A; Marginson, 1997B; Marginson & Considine, 2000; Szekeres, 2006), their operational strategies and plans (and budgets) have tended to be inflected by this discourse of growth while they simultaneously adapt to the rhetoric of sustainability. These anomalies in language and concept have been commented upon by Aras and Crowther who note that the “almost unquestioned assumption is that growth remains possible (Elliot, 2005) and therefore sustainability and sustainable development are synonymous” (Aras and Crowther, 2008, p281). Jickling and Wals (2007) have compared the paradox encoded within sustainable development discourse to George Orwell’s notion of “double think” where people can adopt contradictory meanings for the same word and accept them both. Diesendorf has previously acknowledged the definitional complexity of the various terminologies. For this reason he has chosen to use “sustainable development” as a shorthand phrase for “ecologically sustainable and socially equitable development” (Diesendorf, 1999, p.4). In this report, we seek to unpack some of the dichotomous meanings circulating in the sustainability discussions, to encourage a more critical and analytic approach to the rhetoric commonly employed and to promote awareness that we are all necessarily involved in an ongoing debate about the meaning of sustainability and how to achieve it (Aras and Crowther, 2008). The report will use the words sustainable and sustainability with specific reference to environmental sustainability, but in the stated belief that protecting the environment ultimately leads to better social and ethical outcomes. The words are also used with the implicit understanding that different disciplines bring alternate perspectives to bear on the meaning of the terms and the approach to the issues (Brown, 2007). For the reasons just described, the phrase “sustainable development” will not be used unless quoted from another document, in which case this will be specifically attributed in context. A further and more precise differentiation needs to be made here between ecological discourse and environmental discourse, terms which should not be used interchangeably or understood synonymously. As used in this report “environmental discourse/s” refers back to the above definition of sustainability/environmental sustainability. Environmental discourse, while expressive of an authentic commitment to sustainability 7 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities may nevertheless be conscripted for other purposes and may function effectively within institutional parameters. Ecological discourses are more countercultural, more attuned to alternative ways of knowing and to the interconnectedness of living organisms with the living planet. They tend to be resolutely uninflected by dominant discourses and are less available for mainstream appropriation. Examples of ecological discourses may be found in deep ecology (Sessions, 1995), eco-feminism (Warren, 2000) and animal liberation (Caine, 2008), (Selby & Kagawa, 2010). At the outset of this report, it was intended to focus upon the emergence of what we refer to as the “green scorecard” released by many Australian universities, a document produced and circulated annually to tabulate the environmental impact (and improved sustainability performance) of the institution. As the study commenced, it became increasingly apparent to the researchers that although these published figures read as proof of an institutional commitment to lessening environmental impact they also present for more complex analysis. Green scorecards generally relate purely to operational activities or report directly on issues around energy and waste. They may be best understood as an artifact of the “environmental credentials”/green office strategies of the university; usually produced by departments of facilities management as statements of improved practices and enhanced performance. While these are important initiatives, they are largely corralled from research or teaching and located in the functional capacity or “engine room” of the institution. With reference to earlier research upon the lack of integration and absence of systemic approaches to environmental sustainability at universities (Tilbury et al, 2005), the researchers recalibrated the study to consider the overall environmental performance of a group of six Australian universities. It was decided to choose only universities that were signatories to the Talloires declaration. Of necessity, information pertaining to their environmental performance needed to be publicly available through their websites. Another difficulty presented itself. Several of the institutions which we wished to include because of specific sustainability initiatives were found to have not signed Talloires. After due reflection we made the decision to choose universities on the basis of significant infrastructural, research and teaching or outreach investment into sustainability initiatives and practices. Signing Talloires became only another means of demonstrating (as opposed to measuring) commitment to sustainability. In the end we had three universities signatory to the Talloires declaration and three who have not signed at the time of this report being written. A more in depth analysis involving surveys and interviews was always beyond the scope of this report but may yet form the basis of a subsequent and more substantial study. The information gathered is considered in the context of current research into sustainability and presented within an analytic framework designed by the researchers. The framework, described as a “functional dynamic of green universities” maps a range of ways in which universities may broaden, intensify and embed their active commitment to sustainability. It will be defined in detail in part two of this report. In the context of this selection process it is relevant here to provide a brief summary of the Talloires declaration and the commitment entailed by signing it. In October 1990, twenty two presidents, rectors The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 8 and vice chancellors of universities globally, agreed to take action to address the challenge of environmental degradation. Importantly they stated that “universities have a major role in the education, research, policy formation and information exchange necessary” if essential changes in environmental management were to occur (see Appendix A). Although some observers identify the Belgrade Charter (1975) as the point of genesis for environmental action in higher education (Haigh, 2005), the Talloires declaration differed from previous documents in that it defined a ten-point action plan. By signing the declaration, universities commit to meeting key operational activities and curriculum initiatives. For this reason – the commitment to actionable objectives – this report has taken the Talloires declaration as a point of entry into the sustainability debate rather than any of the subsequent declarations or charters which have marked the commitment of academic leaders and university communities to the advancement of global environmental literacy and sustainability. These other documents have included the Halifax Action Plan in 1991, the Swansea Declaration in 1993, the Copernicus University Charter for Sustainable Development in 1993, the Kyoto Declaration of the International Association of Universities in 1993 and the Student Charter for a Sustainable Future in 1995. More recently, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years from 2005 to 2014 as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and invited governments from around the world to strengthen their contribution to sustainability through a focus on education. More than halfway through this decade, it seems apposite to scrutinise the plans, policies and practices of some of the institutions that have publicly committed themselves to the challenge. As of 22 October 2010, four hundred and twenty seven universities from fifty-two countries had become signatories to the Talloires declaration. This includes nineteen out of thirty-eight Australian universities which is half the total number and makes our three out of six signatories a perfect microcosm at this point in time. It has been observed recently that “Australian universities are lagging behind (universities in the US and UK) in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Many do not yet know their emissions, monitor their water use, have a green and socially responsible procurement policy or assess environmental risk. Few involve students in campus sustainability initiatives or have programs equipping students for green collar jobs” (Adams, 2009). Nevertheless, some green initiatives are steadily finding their way into the hierarchic structures of most universities in Australia. These may be partly expressed through a commitment to the monitoring and reduction of resource usage at facilities management level or the promotion of a sustainability focus for marketing purposes. There may also be adherence to the criteria established by the ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004. These standards enable companies and organizations to identify and approach sustainability goals – ISO 14001 provides the requirements for an environmental management system (EMS) and ISO 14004 provides general EMS guidelines. Because they are intended for broad application they do not specify levels of environmental performance (International Standards Organization, 2010). There are other international frameworks for voluntary sustainability reporting. The primary one of these is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an international collaboration founded by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies 9 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities (CERES). These factors are taken into account when reviewing the commitment to sustainability demonstrated by the universities included in this report. Many Australian universities have identified environmental sustainability as an area of importance in mission statements and a number have also integrated sustainability into curriculum planning and research projects. While these moves certainly mark a change in university culture, they are preliminary steps rather than defining shifts towards authentically green practices. In the case of facilities management, these steps may not have progressed beyond reduce/reuse/recycle and a basic compliance with green guidelines (Gertsakis and Lewis, 2003). This compliance offers an appearance of a green sensibility but may be driven as much by the financial and marketing imperatives of triple bottom line reporting as by a deeper shift in institutional thinking. Sustainability reporting is inextricably entwined with managerial accountability and decision-making. It provides information against three performance measures: economic, environmental and social – the triple bottom line (Frost, Jones, Loftus & van der Laan, 2005). Rather than taking a leadership role in regard to the challenges presented by sustainability, a number of higher education institutions are merely falling into line behind businesses and NGOs in recognising the value of demonstrating transparency and accountability beyond the traditional domain of financial performance. Because there is no mandatory triple bottom line reporting in Australia, this reportage can be seen in terms of cultural compliance and the mainstream tolerance of some of the less challenging elements of environmentalist discourse for the purposes of disclosure. “Research has shown that over time, the level of disclosure on environmental issues has increased, with companies predominantly disclosing ‘positive’ information” (Frost, et al, 2005). It is useful here to make a distinction between the compliance which accedes to an enforced rule and the compliance which conforms to cultural expectations. The authors of this report coin the term cultural compliance to define the latter of these responses. Although apparently voluntary, it does not express or undertake a deep seated commitment to change. Instead it is brought about because a failure to comply might impact upon an individual’s or corporation’s standing, reputation or well-being. Although sustainable management and voluntary disclosure of resource use are audable achievements, this report will argue that they are not in themselves a marker of what we are defining as institutional greenshift (Farmer, 1996). Green-shift is a term originally associated with architecture, but co-opted for the purposes of this report and with hyphen removed it is understood as a progressive transformation in institutional culture, values and practices towards the prioritizing of environmental sustainability. Greenshift is compared here to the now commonly used term “greenwash” which is defined as the practice through which organizations or individuals “mislead or deflect (the public, public concern, etc.) by stressing the environmental credentials of a person, company, product, etc., esp. when these are unfounded or irrelevant. Also: to disseminate disinformation about (a company, its operations, etc.) so as to present an environmentally responsible public image” (OED, 10th ed.). Greenshift is the antithesis of greenwash. Green-wash, like the associated term “green sheen” indicates that the supposed benefits are The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 10 primarily superficial, often for marketing or reputational purposes rather than symptomatic of deeper and more significant changes. In a study of corporate sustainability reports, Ramus and Montiel found that although there was little difference in documented commitment to specific environmental policies between industry sectors, the implementation of policy varied significantly (Ramus and Montiel, 2005). This finding accords with the earlier definition of greenwash as primarily rhetorical and reactive. In contrast, greenshift may begin as a reactive process but evolves into a proactive process. It generates real, long term change which permeates horizontally as well as vertically. It begins to occur when sustainability initiatives move beyond the dimensions of campus maintenance, service provision and cultural compliance and are broadly integrated into curriculum development and higher research planning. It acquires further momentum when green offices are shifted from a solely facilities management perspective and given a research and teaching agenda, although this alone gives an incomplete picture of what may be happening at an institutional level. The growing demand within business and industry for graduates with sustainability knowledge and qualifications means that universities can take a market driven approach to meeting workforce requirements (e.g.: offering degrees with a sustainability focus) without committing to deeper institutional change. Therefore other markers are required to effectively assess authentic green shift. Part Two of this report will engage more fully with research and teaching initiatives and subject some of these to rigorous critical analysis. More advanced points along the greenshift spectrum include the extension (or creation) of senior academic appointments with a sustainability and agenda, and an emphasis on environmental sustainability at the level of institutional research profile. As these developments occur there is a move beyond the discursive identification of environmental issues (e.g.: in mission statements and graduate attribute presentations) to the actual creation of change in the three P’s of policy, process and practice. Where a transformative green-shift has occurred, there is also an active “third stream” impact at local and global levels which is directly attributable to the university. The 2008 Review of Australian Higher Education noted the importance of higher education’s contribution to economic, social and cultural capital beyond the two core functions of teaching and research (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent & Scales, 2008). This third function, although difficult to define in precise terms, has been variously described as knowledge transfer, community service, community engagement and the third stream. This report will use the term “third stream” with the primary understanding that universities have been founded principally on the two activities of teaching and research and in the context of the following definition. “Universities have always made contributions, both directly and indirectly, to decision-making in the wider society; this is their ‘Third Mission’. Third Stream activities are therefore concerned with the generation, use, application and exploitation of knowledge and other university capabilities outside academic environments. In other words, the Third Stream is about the interactions between universities and the rest of society” (Molas-Gallart, Salter, Patel, Scott, Duran, 2000). Here we draw upon Schofield’s research into benchmarking (Schofield, 1998) to extend the available understanding of Third Stream activities. In this report we differentiate between Third Stream interactions which occur implicitly and 11 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities those which take place explicitly. These are not mutually exclusive. Implicit interactions may occur serendipitously in the course of activities instigated for a variety of other purposes, while explicit interactions are planned and structured to achieve specific institutional goals. Implicit activities may operate on the margins or be a by-product of mainstream institutional activity. Some implicit activities occur because the cascade of permissions and approvals required at an institutional level drive sustainability groups or projects to operate primarily within the sanctioned space that universities have historically tended to provide for alternative discourses. An example of an explicit Third Stream activity is provided by the Inland Living Experience (ILE) at the Albury-Wodonga campus of Charles Sturt University. Initiated and coordinated by CSU staff and working with community groups, this program is committed to building/ engaging the critical human and social capital essential to be an institutional culture of sustainability. The Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona is notable for its leading-edge design and construction but these would have limited impact without the ILE Program. Since being established it has bridged the gap between a small number of passionate environmental advocates in the School of Environmental Sciences and the wider CSU community (including Admin staff) at Albury-Wodonga. It has also developed a platform for effective engagement with campus visitors and other CSU stakeholders about sustainability and fostered multidisciplinary research examining aspects of environmental education. Importantly, the ILE has embedded the study of sustainability in the Murray School of Education and enabled the campus to be used as a site for sustainability studies in primary and secondary schools, adding multi-generational depth to its reach into the surrounding communities (Kemmis, Chambers, Stephens, Wallace, & Rafferty, 2010). Currently, more than 2000 primary and secondary students pass through program annually. This also enacts the eighth provision of the Talloires Declaration: to â€œEstablish partnerships with primary and secondary schools to help develop the capacity for interdisciplinary teaching about population, environment and sustainable developmentâ€?. Further examples of sustainability focused third stream activities at other universities will be provided later in the report in the context of considering the six targeted universities. Part Two Writing within the European context, van Weenen (2000) identified sustainable development as one of the biggest challenges which universities face in the twenty- first century and described a series of strategic institutional responses. In particular, he mapped four distinct levels of university engagement or committed response to the challenge. The primary approach, defined by van Weenen as level one, involves physical operations (facilities management) and the critical review of product and energy use. Level two as described by van Weenen, may merge with aspects of level one as an emphasis on sustainability is brought to bear on research and education, influencing and guiding campus infrastructure and university development. Level three of engagement is when university management undertakes to reformulate policy The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 12 and redesign organizational structure with the specific intention of rendering the institution more sustainable. According to van Weenen the highest level of engagement, mapped as level four, exists where there is an influential internal advisory body and significant number of engaged staff and students. At this level, there is involvement from external bodies which may include community organizations and NGO’s, and the university may formulate a powerful mission statement committing itself to sustainable development (van Weenen 2000). Figure 1. (van Weenen, 2000) More recently, Davis, O’Callaghan and Knox (2008), have considered the van Weenen model from an Australian perspective – Griffith University in Queensland. These researchers referred to the model in the context of a survey which sought to determine the presence of sustainable attitudes and behaviors among non-academic staff at Griffith. In this article the Van Weenen model was used effectively in an unproblematic way. The researchers considered that Griffith University had already attained levels one and two and the survey was carried out as a means of informing attempts to reach levels three and four. The work of Davis, O’Callaghan and Knox (2008) attests to the continuing efforts of many universities and the academic and non-academic staff aligned with them, to instigate and perpetuate a commitment to 13 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities environmentally sound thinking and behavior across all spectrums of performance. This report draws upon and concurs with some aspects of van Weenen’s model but takes issue with and significantly modifies others. Notably, we are in agreement with the understanding of physical operations as the primary or initial stage in institutional response. It is pertinent here to make the point that this level of response tends to be highly valued by management because it provides measurable outcomes which can be used in an evidentiary sense to assure stakeholders of the green credentials of the institution. Also of particular interest is van Weenen’s insistence that the “highest and holistic” engagement occurs when “a powerful advisory body exists and there is a sufficient number of engaged staff and demanding students” (van Weenen, 2000, p31). This acknowledgment of the importance of individual and collective staff and student involvement is frequently missing from analyses of institutional greening. This too, is the value of the van Weenen model to the research previously carried out by Davis, O’Callaghan and Knox (2008). The first point where this report differs strongly from the van Weenen model is in the importance attached to the mission statement and strategic plan. In the functioning dynamic of green engagement designed by the authors of this report, the mission statement is identified as being of similar value to the facilities management aspect of commitment to sustainable development, parallel with shifts in curriculum focus. From the outset of our research into green scorecards we identified a major and deeply troubling concern relating to sustainability reporting in universities. That is: the discourse around sustainability reporting and sustainability initiatives in universities, including mission statements, runs the risk of being primarily rhetorical rather than a committed attempt to take action to address the issues involved. Writing about corporate social responsibility (CSR) Aras and Crowther (2008) have pointed to the vague character and obfuscatory effect of much sustainability reporting. They argue that “this treatment of sustainability is actually disingenuous and disguises the very real advantages that corporations obtain by creating such a semiotic of sustainability” (Aras & Crowther 2008). By identifying mission statements as one of a series of discursive artifacts through which universities promote themselves, internally and externally as socially and environmentally responsible institutions, this report endeavors to close some of the gaps between representational strategies and committed action. The term “Green Gap” has been used in Canada to describe the gap “between Canadians’ environmental actions and their perceptions of being environmentally conscious” (Serafini & Cowling, 2010). Here we coin the term “greengap” to describe the gap between sustainability rhetoric and the active implementation of sustainable systems. The green initiatives undertaken by the universities which will be considered in this report have undoubtedly had an effect upon institutional resource use and internal consciousness raising. They are unquestionably, viable and valuable moves in the right direction towards greater accountability and environmental sustainability. Yet if the greengaps between action and rhetoric are to be narrowed then some hard questions need to be asked and answered. At the simplest level, with regard to green scorecards, these questions include the following. Who scores? Where does the information go? How The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 14 valuable is the information gathered to reporting, promotion and marketing? What are the links between this information and curriculum/research? How is the green agenda justified at higher management level? While it might be reasonably argued that these questions are immaterial as long as an active commitment to environmentally sustainable behavior exists at the institutional level, this report proposes that it is precisely these questions – and their sometimes unpalatable answers – which enable a fuller interrogation of individual and institutional commitment and which mark that higher and holistic level of engagement touched upon by van Weenen. The second point where this report diverges from the van Weenen model (2000) and its subsequent application by Davis, O’Callaghan and Knox (2008), is in the reliance upon measurable levels of engagement. Attempts to grade or assess the success or failure of greenshift can be useful and are not entirely absent from the functional dynamic model. But we reiterate here that this is not unproblematic. Any efforts to quantify and judge sustainability engagement warrant caution. The notion of measureable levels tends to be readily acceptable in an educational environment – entrenched in the value laden discourse of grading students – and in management circles where its attraction is based largely in the (often fallacious) sense of control it offers. It is frequently articulated as well in the benchmarking activities ubiquitous to corporations and educational institutions. Benchmarking and other forms of internal and external quality control have been increasingly prevalent in universities since the displacement of traditional forms of university administration with a model of managerialism reminiscent of private companies (Marginson & Considine, 2000). This has chronologically paralleled investment in ideas about environmental sustainability – an investment that is simultaneously intellectual, political and emotional. Managerialism and sustainability meet at the apex of green scorecard accountability, reporting on resource use, waste disposal and cost control. The challenge for institutions is to move beyond this fixed point into a wider and more productive space beyond sustainability reporting into authentic green-shift and third stream activities. Benn, Dunphy and Griffiths (2006) have mapped a six stage schema for transitional orincremental change towards sustainability in corporations. They define the shift from rejection through nonresponsiveness to compliance, moving on to efficiency, then strategic proactivity and ultimately the sustaining corporation. There are two points in this schema which are of particular value to our model of the functional dynamic. The first of these is the emphasis on the relationship between ecological sustainability and human sustainability or social capital, notably that the human element is “crucial to organisational change for sustainability in both human and ecological terms” (Benn, et al 2006). The second is the insistence that a corporation does not necessarily progress through change on a linear trajectory and that there are external as well as internal factors which impact on readiness and capability. “To the contrary, an organization may leap frog phases or regress by abandoning previously established sustainability practices. Significant shifts towards sustainability are often triggered by changes such as the appointment of new senior management, stakeholder pressure, new legislation, economic fluctuations or by the loss of committed enthusiasts” (Benn, et al 2006, p). The Benn schema acknowledges the complex relationships and philosophical differences that are a feature of the internal workings of any 15 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities organisational and even discrete units within the organization. This may be seen to be especially the case in universities where disciplinary differences may well drive equally committed academic staff to foster divergent approaches to the challenge of sustainability. For this reason, the model framed below is designed to allow vertical and horizontal shifts and development across and within all sectors. In initially envisaging the model, the authors conceived of it as a pyramidal design incorporating five main steps or stages of environmentally sustainable investment. They were mapped as follows: Steps to Sustainable University Communities 1. There is general compliance with principles of efficient resource use and the reduction of waste and emissions. Statistics of resource and energy use are readily available in annual reports. This may occur through a Green Office administered by the Department of Facilities Management. Environmental sustainability initiatives cohere with financial imperatives. 2. Environmental sustainability initiatives are embedded in curricular development and higher research planning. The university mission statement includes a commitment to environmental sustainability. 3. Senior academic appointments have a sustainability focus. Green offices are shifted from a facilities management perspective and given a research and teaching agenda. Sustainability initiatives link to research profile and impact on internal and external institutional identity. Infrastructural investment prioritizes sustainable projects. 4. There is a move beyond identifying the challenge of environmental issues to actually creating change. The environmental sustainability of the institution is prioritized above growth or economic incentives. 5. The sustainable changes and choices within the university have an active “third stream” impact at local and global levels. As the work progressed and we looked at the functional dynamics of different universities, it became increasingly plain that this model did not allow sufficiently for the layered shifts and multi-directional flows of relationships, philosophies and infrastructural development. Nor did it incorporate the frequently uneven nature of institutional change, the extent to which there might be local heroes or innovation hotspots (called greenspots in the model) co-existing with points of resistance or denial. Furthermore, we had concerns – explained earlier in the report – about the way such a hierarchically defined model might be read as system of enforced compliance rather than a concept enabling individuated commitment to authentic change. Nevertheless, the stages originally mapped as part of that pre-emptive pyramid, still have relevance to the current model. The difference is that while these are recognized points of The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 16 development in the functioning dynamic, they are not perceived to primarily happen evenly or chronologically – unlike the van Weenen model discussed earlier in this report (van Weenen, 2000). Overall, the institution may be functioning primarily at a level of basic compliance but internally there may be isolated initiatives which are exemplary of third stream activity, vibrant greenspots which actively disseminate knowledge and values across other divisions and out into the community. Alternatively, there may be a strong research and teaching agenda with an environmental sustainability focus happening on an older campus where historic buildings with ancient fittings are prodigal users of energy and long established European style gardens guzzle potable water. It was plain that a more nuanced and multidimensional model was called for, one which showed how the five points described above might integrate or overlap in idiosyncratic ways according to the particular demands and commitments of individual institutions and the many variables which make them up. The model which evolved as the report developed retained its pyramidal shape but was transposed so that it pointed down. In this way, the flat plane of the base became the broad edge at which a sustainable university engaged with the wider community in implicit and explicit third stream activities. The defined boundaries between developmental stages were dissolved into graduated shadings as we came to realise that each institution enacted sustainability initiatives according to the individual drivers of location, built environment, student cohort, research capacity and a host of other idiosyncratic factors. The localized greenspots which marked significant small investments in sustainability became flashes or bubbles within the model, sometimes enlarging or spreading, on other occasions merging into the background. We felt strongly that within most universities, there was an institutional barrier to more advanced sustainability activities, a combination of factors which included cost, inertia and managerial suppression. This we sketched horizontally as a semi-permeable green ceiling bisecting the transposed pyramid. The “green ceiling” is a term adopted by economists to describe the level to which poorer nations must first raise their per capita income level before achieving higher environmental standards (Griswold, 2001). In the model, the green ceiling is the point at which many well intentioned sustainability initiatives in universities fail to thrive or expand because they are insufficiently supported by more generalized or substantial change. Equally they may be limited in scope because the same institutional structures that put them in place are so constrained by systems and discourses of managerial accountability that there is no space for innovation or diversity. Selby and Kagawa, (2010) make a similar point about the paradox encoded within Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). “In embracing an instrumentalist and utilitarian view of nature (nature as ‘resource’ or environment as subset of development) with its correlative managerial approach to the environment and denial of the intrinsic value of the natural world, it has marginalized alternative paradigms and philosophies such as deep ecology (Sessions, 1995), eco-feminism (Warren, 2000) and animal liberation (Caine, 2008), (Selby & Kagawa, 2010). 17 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities Functional Dynamic of the Green University Active empowered citizens The Green Ceiling Expected Responses Strategic plans / Waste Targets / Energy reduction Compliance / Accommodation Evident Curriculum design/Research Areas of excellence/ SEO appointments Rejecting and renewal of practice Aspiration Third stream activities/ Transformation model with teacher and learner. Well being / healthy community / valuing of relationships Transform/New Role /New Identity Institutional modeling/Evidence of Organisational Learning (campus; activities leadership; community connections) A change from the Entrepreneurial University to the Ecological University (Barnett, 2010) Figure 2. The Functional Dynamic The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 18 Prior to greenshift and beneath the green ceiling, actual and cultural compliance is produced as an end in itself. Annual green scorecards are made publicly available to meet internal and external performance measurement criteria. This should not blind us to their importance. As observed by Pascale: “we are more likely to act our way into new ways of thinking than thinking our way into new ways of acting” (Pascale, Millemann & Gioja, 1997). Beyond the green ceiling, compliance measures may guide some activities but sustainability is the continuing purpose, not as closure when triple bottom line targets are met but as an ongoing endeavor. At this aspirational level, there may be a recognition that institutional growth is incompatible with environmental sustainability and choices may be made to limit growth or to direct it into viable pathways. For instance this may include directing teaching resources towards more external or flexible learning initiatives to disperse the impact of campus populations. Action groups to advance specific environmental initiatives may be formed or a senior leader with academic (as well as managerial) standing may be appointed to direct and model active commitment for change. Such appointments have significant benefits for the university community but if they are not scaffolded by other and more widespread initiatives they may be insufficient. The recently appointed Pro Vice Chancellor for Sustainability at La Trobe University has observed that: “Some universities have made ‘green’ appointments and have established stand alone operational groups focused on ‘sustainability’. They then find that that they fail to embed change within the culture. Change requires leadership from the top. It requires each operational unit taking ownership of plans for change. It requires green thinking and doing becoming part of everyone’s job. Targets need to be set and performance measured and managed” (Adams, 2009). According to this understanding, the transformational point in the functional dynamic of green universities occurs where there is a systematic endeavor to embed change with regards to sustainable behaviors and thinking across the university at all levels. It occurs as well when there are indications of institutional learning and when the isolated greenspots across campuses diffuse their knowledge across whole universities through distributive leadership and communities of practice. The transformational stage is also enacted through sustainability focused explicit and implicit third stream activities, where there is a process of dense, ongoing, interactive integration between the university and its surrounding communities. Part Three provides brief, individual case studies of six Australian universities in the context of the functional dynamic model, maps some of the ways in which they demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and in particular, considers the nature and transformative possibility of these developments. 19 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities Part Three There are significant differences in ranking, funding and identity between the six universities chosen for this case study. Initially it was planned to only include universities which were signatories to the Talloires declaration. As we searched for information about different universities we found that some institutions, while they appeared to have made substantial financial or investments in sustainability relating to infrastructure, research, teaching and learning or third stream activities, were not yet signatory. This caused us to substantially reconsider our approach while simultaneously endorsing the design of the Functional Dynamic model. Commitment to sustainability is growing but within and between Australian universities it tends to be unevenly distributed and inconsistently aligned. Our significant finding here is that there a residual – sometimes yawning – greengap between sustainability rhetoric and the active implementation, integration and embedding of sustainable systems across all dimensions of university operations. To some degree, despite the seriousness of the commitment it implies, the signing (or not signing) of the Talloires declaration should be seen in this context. There are other indicators as well however and these are mapped in the chart below. It needs to be emphasized here that in the light of previous discussions, none of these indicators should be considered separately. Collectively viewed, they do indeed give some sense of the functional dynamic of the green university. Here is where the concept of abductive reasoning with its rationale for forming and evaluating explanatory hypotheses from partial or incomplete observation has particular analytic value (Thagard & Shelley, 1997). The information tabled about the sustainability initiatives in place at the six universities listed provides only part of the whole picture. As other perspectives are introduced, a clearer sense develops about the real level of commitment to sustainability on university campuses and the forces behind it. Following on from the chart the report provides a brief overview – a snapshot rather than a feature film – of each of the six universities in the report in alphabetical order. The information is not exhaustive but adheres to the original intent of this report: to gather data from university websites with the aim of understanding how universities represent themselves as sustainable entities. While the insights provided into sustainability practices and policies at each institution are necessarily limited, the focus of this report is on the complex interface between sustainability reporting, managerial discourses and the mission of twenty first century universities. There is a possible element in these representations, not so much of greenwash but of the sustainability shine which Adams warns of: “Under the watchful eyes of the media and NGOs, the greenwash of the 1990s has been replaced or supplemented by a 'sustainability shine' — a 'glow' rather than a 'wash'— “ (Adams, 2009). This observation is not intended to undermine the authentic benefits of many of the projects described in the following pages but only to caution that selfrepresentation may selectively provide a lustre that a more objective and external assessment might not. It must also be taken into account that although university campuses may become greener this does not necessarily equate to sustainability. The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 20 Table One Sustainability Indicators ANU CSU Griffith LaTrobe Macquarie Uni Syd Signatory to Talloires Signatory to UN Global Compact ACTS member Green Office Green scorecard (resource and energy use) Sustainable building practices Provision for sustainability at Undergraduate course level Provision for sustainability at Postgraduate level Community engagement/third stream activities yes yes no yes no no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes Australian National University (ANU) ANU was established as a research facility by an Act of Federal Parliament in 1946. It occupies more than 200 buildings on 145 hectares in the centre of Canberra. There are also four smaller campuses: Mt Stromlo Observatory, Siding Spring Observatory, North Australia Research Unit and Kioloa. According to the most recent available data, there are 16715 students enrolled in total, including: undergraduates, postgraduates and higher degree research students. The university employs a total of 3874 staff (1578 academic and 2367 general). It is one of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities, a group which identifies and markets itself as “Australia's Leading Universities”. ANU is also a founding member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), an alliance of 10 of the world’s leading research universities – ANU, ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo and Yale University. Around 80 per cent of ANU core operating income was expended on research in 2008, while ANU staff won $100 million in research grants and consultancies. In 2008 37 per cent of ANU students were enrolled at postgraduate level and 70 per cent of students undertaking undergraduate research focused programs (PhB) continued on to undertake higher degree research studies. 21 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities ANU’s Environmental Management Plan (2009-2015) is publicly available. The stated aim of the plan is to enable the university to “provide research and study facilities that meet worlds best sustainability practice. The targets and goals of the Plan exceed statutory requirements and industry standards with the intent that ANU will innovate and lead in the global challenge of sustainability” (ANU EMP, 2009). The plan sets specific short and medium term targets for the reduction of water and energy use and the reduction of material waste. It also sets targets related to fostering a culture of sustainability within the institution and for the integration of environmental management issues into research and teaching. Responsibility for the implantation of the plan ultimately rests with the Vice Chancellor. It is co-ordinated and managed by the Director of the Facilities and Services Division. Implementation strategies for the plan are the responsibility of the ANU Environment and Sustainability Office (ANUgreen), overseen by campus representatives on the Environmental Management Planning Committee which reports to the Vice Chancellor through of the Facilities and Services Division. ANU has strategies in place to assist staff and students to make their offices, laboratories and residences more sustainable and is in the process of drafting a biodiversity management plan. ANU was successful in its application to the federal government’s national Green Precinct initiative. The funding will enable stormwater harvesting for irrigation; black water treatment and reuse; conversion of oval to synthetic turf; solar photovoltaic installation; a building management system upgrade; and trial of a solar split air-conditioning system. Among other initiatives, ANUgreen administers a Sustainability Internship program in which students from all disciplines have the opportunity to apply for funding to work on campus sustainability projects. These projects have included the ANU Carbon Emissions Inventory and the development of an organic community garden on campus. The Carbon Emissions Inventory is publicly available while the garden provides a continuing resource to ANU staff and students and the ACT community (who are welcome to be involved). Continuing plans for development and expansion include building a community pizza oven, establishing an aquaponics setup and installing a pump for the water tanks. This is a grassroots example of third stream activity, integrating sustainability knowledges – organic gardening – into a university’s host community. International sustainability internships are also available through the IARU network. Selected students live in on-campus housing and work in the university’s sustainability office for the duration of the program. Project topics range from energy conservation, transport and waste reduction to student outreach and community engagement. Another initiative designed to further improve environmental performance is the establishment of the ANU Green Loan Fund. This provides funding for projects that demonstrably reduce the environmental impact of the ANU in critical areas like water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste management. The fund provides interest free loans for projects that have a ten-year or less return on investment. The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 22 Charles Sturt University (CSU) CSU was formally incorporated as a university in 1989 following the progressive merging of regional institutions in southwestern and western NSW. These included the Riverina College of Advanced Education, the Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education and the Mitchell Institute of Higher Education. Subsequent mergers, transfers and expansions mean that it now has campuses in Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga and Albury Wodonga at Thurgoona. It also has a campus in Canberra to house the CSU Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture; provides policing education to the NSW Police force at the Goulburn campus; and has study centers for international students in Sydney and Melbourne. It is the largest inland university in Australia. In 2005 it established a new campus in Ontario, Canada. The CSU mission statement defines it as “a national university for excellence in education for the professions, strategic and applied research and flexible delivery of learning and teaching”. The annual report for 2009 stated that a total of 32 685 students were enrolled across all campuses at CSU, 18472 of whom were distance education students. CSU is the largest single provider of distance education in Australia. In 2007 CSU became a signatory to the Talloires declaration. Since 2007 CSU has been producing an Environmental Scorecard that tracks the University's resource use and emissions in relation to its sustainability targets. Since 2008, the scorecards have also included information about other initiatives. Sustainability and global citizenship are claimed to be central values of the CSU Strategy 2007-2011 and sustainability is identified as one of four key themes of CSU’s Institutional Development Plan. To this purpose, the CSU Green office was established to address sustainability issues. The CSU Green office is located in, and reports to, the Division of Facilities Management. It also reports to the Sustainability Program Committee (SPC) and works with the Campus Environmental Committees on the various campuses. According to CSU Green’s homepage, the office serves as “a hub of communication and coordination for the University's sustainability efforts” and assists in monitoring what has been achieved and in promoting and initiating activities. It focuses in particular on energy and water use reduction targets, and moves towards carbon neutrality. In its Institutional Development Plan the University commits to ensure the responsible stewardship of physical, human and financial resources and to develop plans and procedures to implement sustainability practice. The IDP includes specific commitments: 23 • to reduce energy use (compared with 2006) by 10% by 2011 and by 25% by 2015; • to be greenhouse neutral by 2015; • to reduce water use by 25% by 2011; • to use10% of University land to increase biodiversity by 2011 and 20% by 2015; • to achieve a 70% reduction of solid waste by 2014; The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities • to increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet; and • to cooperate with communities toward sustainability All of these initiatives may be located within the first two stages in the five stages of Sustainable University Communities or the narrowest confines of the lower half of the model. They are expected responses, moving towards evidential responses. All have reputational or pecuniary value in the higher education marketplace. Moving beyond this level to consider the relationship of sustainability initiatives to CSU’s research profile, there is as yet no senior appointment specific to sustainability or attempt to bring CSU Green into the academic fold. However, among the higher research degrees on offer at CSU is a doctorate in Sustainable Agriculture. Furthermore, there also aspirational and third stream activities linked to major infrastructural investment occurring in different schools and on individual campuses. Notable among these is the Thurgoona campus at Albury/Wodonga on the NSW/Victorian border. The Thurgoona site, purchased in 1993 and purpose built to meet the needs of the university has been comprehensively designed and built with regard to environmentally sensitive principles, including the use of windmills and solar collectors. Buildings have been constructed from rammed earth and recycled materials, creeks rehabilitated and wetlands developed. There is on-site management of water and waste (including composting toilets) and attention to minimal energy use. The recently completed Academic Accommodation building is the first public building in inland Australia to be rated as six green stars. New residential buildings at other CSU campuses reflect some of the same principles (although they co-exist with more conventional buildings of less favorable design). These initiatives directly impact upon the sustainable functioning of the university and its identity. They impact most particularly in terms of their use and the university’s capacity to directly engage students and members of the external community. The Inland Living Experience described earlier in this report is exemplary of upper level third stream activity, the design of the campus, the engagement of the involved academics, and the principles of EfS coming together to enable ongoing outreach interactions with the university’s host community. Griffith University Griffith University opened in 1975 on land secured for the purpose at Nathan (10 kms south of central Brisbane) in South East Queensland. Griffith was the first university in Australia to offer a degree in Environmental studies and now has more than 5600 environment alumni. The university has since expanded and grown to incorporate other institutions. Currently it services more than 40 000 students and offers more than 300 degrees (including undergraduate, postgraduate and research) across five campuses – Gold Coast, Logan, Mt Gravatt, Nathan and South Bank. The university is one of a group of six Innovative Research Universities (IRU) in Australia. These institutions were all founded in the 1960’s and 70’s and work together to establish research concentrations and investment across the group. They The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 24 collaborate in professional development initiatives, e-learning and new information and communications technology, income generation, and industrial issues. From the outset, the first Nathan campus master plan prioritized preserving environmental integrity, including retaining trees and limiting building height. Griffith is a national centre for climate adaptation research. The current strategic plan makes a commitment to ensuring that "environmental sustainability will be reflected in its building design, as well as its energy, water and waste management practices”. Griffith University has received funding from the Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund (Sustainability Round) assist in the building of Australia’s first zero-emission and self-powering teaching and research building driven by solar-powered hydrogen energy. The building will generate its own power supply. It is intended that it will be a model for remote communities that are 'off-grid' and cannot access power and will also be a pilot for applying this safe, sustainable power supply in urban settings. The Gold Coast campus of the university hosts the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. Part of the School of Environment and Planning is the Griffith University EcoCentre which is located within the bushland of the Toohey Forest. The Toohey Forest Environmental Education Centre operates from within the EcoCentre and provides environmental education programs and activities for schools and students as well as exhibitions, conferences, meetings and training seminars. The construction and operation of the EcoCentre follows strict 'ecodesign' principles, and features solar energy, ambient ventilation and lighting, rammed earth walls for temperature regulation, rainwater collection for 'greywater' use, and wet composting toilets. All features reflect domestic scale environmental technologies that can be used in the family home. Its stated aim is sustainable development, environmental education, research, community partnership. Opened in 2001 the Toohey Forest Environmental Education Centre is a collaborative venture between Griffith University and Education Queensland designed to promote environmental literacy and values through community engagement. The university has instituted a set of sustainability standards and green guide (available online) and states that “Every Griffith employee has a commitment to support and promote environmental sustainability practices in the workplace”. These cover the areas of leadership, energy, green purchasing, transport, recycling and waste and are coordinated by the Griffith Green Workspace. Griffith University has also had an Environmental Loan Fund since 2009. This aims to target sustainability under the direction of a corporate agenda by providing upfront loans and/or matching contributions to projects that reduce the environmental impact of the university and save future expenditure on utilities, consumables or operating costs. This is planned to be a self-sustaining initiative. Projects may fund new infrastructure to reduce consumption or waste, to make operations more efficient, or to change staff, students’ or community behavior. 25 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities La Trobe University La Trobe University was established in 1967 in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora about 14 km from Melbourne's city centre. It was the third University to open in Victoria. Since then it has grown to accommodate more than 30,000 students including approximately 7,600 international students from over 90 countries. As well as providing for 21,000 students at the Bundoora campus, La Trobe now also provides for over 5,900 students at six other Victorian campuses including Wodonga, Beechworth, Bendigo, Mildura, Melbourne City and Shepparton. The university is one of a group of six Innovative Research Universities, (IRU) in Australia. These institutions were all founded in the 1960’s and 70’s and work together to establish research concentrations and investment across the group. They collaborate in professional development initiatives, e-learning and new information and communications technology, income generation, and industrial issues. La Trobe University has an Environmental Policy for Sustainable Resource Management. The landscape development and management of its campuses is included within the portfolio of University operations. When Latrobe University was established in 1967, the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary was set up on an adjacent former 28 hectare farmland site at its Bundoora campus as a project in the restoration and management of indigenous flora and fauna. Since then the land has been revegetated as a biological reserve. It is now a protected natural habitat and Wildlife Sanctuary surrounded by University facilities and suburbia. It includes woodland and simulated billabong areas that currently support wildlife such as birds, grey kangaroos, bats, gliders and possums. The project is underpinned by a strong learning focus for both the education and the wider communities. In August 2005, the Learning Centre at the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary was officially opened. The educational experiences at the Sanctuary are based in experiential learning, ranging from activities such as school children investigating habitat requirements of 'minibeasts' to the volunteer members of the community physically creating habitat for the animals. La Trobe University is now the caretaker of more than 100 hectares divided into four areas: The La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary; The Gresswell Forest Nature Conservation Reserve; The Gresswell Habitat Link and The Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve. These provide highly significant habitats for indigenous flora and fauna in a largely urban setting. The EnviroSMART program at La Trobe is designed to educate and encourage staff and students in issues of environmental sustainability. Working with and through volunteer staff and student representatives EnviroSMART aims to improve the sustainability of workplace practices and to raise the University's environmental profile. The university is participating in the “Greenhouse Challenge Plus” program. This program aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of Australian companies and increase energy efficiency by helping companies look into the ways they can reduce waste and save energy. In accordance with the WasteWise action plan the university has improved office recycling procedures, The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 26 and is working towards developing recycling strategies for e-waste, mobile phones and toner cartridges and organic waste. These programs work on encouraging individual and collective behavior change. The university states its commitment to green purchasing practices and incorporates an “environmental sustainability” criterion into goods/services tenders, which is evaluated along with the rest of the response. There are also plans to make the use of recycled paper mandatory at the University. On its website, La Trobe states its commitment to incorporating environmentally sustainable design principles in all new La Trobe University buildings. These principles encourage: • sites chosen to optimise solar heat gains • double-glazed glass in windows exposed to direct sunlight • solar-boosted hot water • energy efficient T5 lighting or better where possible • a minimum of 50% use of harvested water in toilets • waterless urinals • recycled materials. With regard to making senior academic appointments with a sustainability focus, In 2010 the University announced the creation of the Office for Sustainability headed by Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Carol Adams. Replacing the Sustainability Taskforce that had existed in 2009, the Office for indicates an institutional commitment to prioritise sustainability at all levels. Among the stated aims of the Office for Sustainability at La Trobe are: • Recognising—That sustainability encompasses economic, social and environmental dimensions. • Integrating—Sustainability across all operations, curriculum and research. • Embedding—Sustainability in the culture and practices of the University through the broadest engagement with staff, students, employers and partners in the community and in government. • Becoming—Known as the leading sustainable university in Australia and a leader internationally. Macquarie University Macquarie University was established in 1964 in North Ryde, 16 kms from Sydney's CBD. The campus stretches over 126 hectares. In 2008 it employed 1098 academic staff, 1123 professional staff and had 33 000 students enrolled in total. Macquarie – like La Trobe and Griffith – belongs to the IRU group. Macquarie identifies the plan to become a leader in sustainability as an institutional goal. A Sustainability Office has been established at the university and has advanced a number of projects towards this goal. These include the development of water management and waste audit policies; the inclusion of sustainability initiatives in the learning and teaching plan; and the injection of an extra $1.3 million into 27 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities the new library project to ensure the building achieves the Green Building Council of Australia's 5- star rating. Rather than focusing upon the operational side and primarily incorporating sustainability initiatives into facilities management, Macquarie has taken a broader approach and sought to incorporate education for sustainability principles into all aspects of the University including human resources, learning and teaching and procurement. In 2007 Macquarie commissioned the State of Play report from the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability. While the report benchmarked the traditional sustainability areas of energy, water and waste, in a first for any university in Australia, it also investigated sustainability in learning and teaching, research and human resources. Following this report, in 2008, Sustainability@MQ was established to coordinate a University-wide program of change. A number of actions have been undertaken since its inception including the introduction of personal paper recycling boxes in all offices leading to a 40% increase in paper recycling; an energy saving campaign featuring posters and stickers designed by one of Macquarie's students; a comprehensive waste audit to determine current waste patterns and improvements to be made; and the development of a sustainable transport strategy to assist in defining targets and actions to reduce reliance on single passenger vehicle use. Macquarie is working hard to reduce its greenhouse emissions. All new developments are being built to 5 Green Star status and efforts are being made to conserve energy in existing facilities. A number of pioneering projects have already been initiated, including the irrigation of seven hectares of sports fields with recycled sewerage and storm water. Saving up to 52 million litres of water a year in the process, this initiative received a $350,000 grant from the New South Wales Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability to further its efforts. Several of the sustainability initiatives at Macquarie have received public recognition. These included the cogeneration plant, which uses gas to fuel two generators that produce electrical energy and potentially reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 44 per cent, was awarded the State Government Green Globe Award for Sustainability. The mixed mode E4A and E4B buildings also received a Bronze Medal in the Green Buildings Awards 2003. These awards recognised the environmental sustainability of both projects. Several policies and procedures have been drafted including a Sustainability Policy and Procedure, Sustainable Procurement Policy, Resource Management Policy, and E-Waste Procedure. Energy, waste and water management procedures are currently being drafted. Each is developed through consultation with staff and students on campus. The participatory process involved is critical to the acceptance of and adherence to policies that will guide sustainability measures at Macquarie. An Arboretum has been established, comprising all the trees and plants on campus. These trees, growing in natural and planted habitats, provide a valuable resource for teaching and research and provide habitat for many native birds and animals. The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 28 The University of Sydney The University of Sydney is Australia’s oldest university, established in 1850 and noted for its historic sandstone architecture. It is one of the Group of Eight (go8) universities, a group which identifies and markets itself as “Australia's Leading Universities”. This claim is supported by references to research outputs, industry links, graduate outcomes, and the competency of academic staff. It is ranked 3rd in Australia and 92nd globally according to current ARWU SHJT rankings. In 2010 the university had 49 061 students enrolled, three quarters of whom study full time, 3067 academic staff and more than 225 000 alumni worldwide. About one fifth of students are international. One hundred and thirty four countries are represented by the student body and it has 238 student exchange agreements in more than thirty countries. These statistics, provided on the university’s home page, demonstrate considerable reach and influence. Also immediately obvious on the university’s home page is a “sustainability” link, given equal prominence with “facts and figures”, “accolades”, “values” and “history”. Plainly, sustainability is a high priority in the context of the way the university represents itself. In the publicly available 2009 annual report, the triple bottom line indicators of the university’s performance are mapped as a ratio of student load with comparative mappings provided since 2006. The report acknowledges high levels of water and energy use which are attributed to improvements in and expansion of research spaces in buildings and the associated increase in air conditioning. Clicking on the home page sustainability link leads directly to the home page of the newly established Institute for Sustainable Solutions, a multidisciplinary institute which has as its key mission the advancement of research into solutions to environmental problems. The institute supports research projects through an Interdisciplinary Research Seed Funding Program and runs post-graduate courses in sustainability that span all the faculties. It also works with Campus Infrastructure Services to coordinate plans and actions to reduce water and energy use, avoid waste, and conduct life cycle analysis of university purchases. This collaborative engagement between research and infrastructural management is one which can be seen as operating at the higher levels of university sustainability. The partnership between the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Campus Infrastructure Services also drives the development of a carbon management plan through an Emissions Reduction Working Group. Established by the University Senate in 2009 this group brings together expertise in energy management, accounting, climate change law, architecture and university administration, to establish principles, strategies and actions for reducing the university’s carbon emissions. These groups have also worked and continue to work consultatively to develop a framework to integrate environmental sustainability in the university’s ambitious capital works program. At the University of Sydney there appears to be a strong recognition by management of the importance of localized greenspots and distributive leadership. The university has a Sustainable Workplace Program which encourages staff to become active contributors to conserving natural resources in their working environments. The Sustainable Workplace initiative builds on the University's commitment to 29 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities sustainability through developing the capacity of all staff to become active contributors to local workplace solutions. The Sustainable Workplace Team is made up of volunteer staff representatives from most faculties and service units across the University. These people are the first point of contact for their colleagues on sustainability issues in the workplace. They are trained to provide support and information on environmental matters and to be a voice for staff in developing new workplace programs and policies. Each team member has the job of working with their fellow staff to implement an appropriate approach to sustainability that is specific to their roles and workplaces. There is a small grants scheme to enable staff to introduce local sustainability projects. Although the university has not signed Talloires, this program accords strongly with the 4th and 5th provisions of the Talloires Declaration, notably “foster(ing) environmental literacy for all and “practice(ing) institutional ecology”. In the context of the functional dynamic model it also indicates a healthy community comprised of “active, empowered citizens”. Conclusion Evidently Australian universities are responding to global concerns about sustainability with a myriad of meritorious initiatives. These are expressed across the broad spectrum of institutional engagement: teaching and curricula design; research and planning; resource management and infrastructure. Nevertheless, the majority of the activity described over the previous pages is only that which stakeholders might reasonably be expected of publicly funded institutions. Levin (2008) argued that the 21st century University should be leading community responses to environmental issues. We contend that Australian universities generally are being shaped by global and community concerns: they are responding to rather than defining and leading the debate. While the sustainability strategies and planning methods employed by institutions are overtly engaging with community concerns, the tenor and language of discussion and reportage marks a deep complicity with dominant discourses and global market forces. The rationalist synthesis of the forces and voices of managerial accountability, EfS and mainstream politics provides an illusion of order and security in the face of the perceived radical threat of global climate change. The list of activities and directives engaging with environmental sustainability are produced by universities as documents of stakeholder answerability, community reassurance, cultural compliance and strategic self-promotion. As argued by Selby and Kagawa (2010) “engagement with the instrumental while sidestepping the ongoing discussion and debate on first principles and root values has conceded impetus in the field to the neoliberal marketplace ideology now tacitly embedded in international agendas”. Managerial solutions are problematised by ecological discourses which come with a degree of uncertainty and offer unacceptable levels of risk. Mueller has presciently observed that “the ecological crisis has the potential to marginalize many diverse people who are needed during these times of increasing ecological awareness and uncertainties” (Mueller, 2009). To minimize the threat posed by The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 30 alternative discourses – i.e.: ecological discourses – managerial discourse redefines their characteristics and invests them with new meaning. As discussed earlier in this report, the increasing corporatization of universities has concomitantly led to an upsurge in the demand for universities to provide evidence of improvement and to behave in business like ways (Allen, 1998; Marginson 1997A; Marginson & Considine, 2000; Rafferty, 2010). Unfortunately this also means that universities are meeting environmental issues with neo-liberal discourses of measurement, accountability andcontainment. Managerial discourse is the language of the market and business, underpinned by its commitment to efficient, responsible and accountable management practices (Gay, Salaman,& Rees, 1996; Rafferty, 2010). The sustainability reporting practices of the universities we have reviewed for the purposes of this report accord precisely with these principles. We acknowledge the practical benefits of rational and managerial solutions to sustainability. As the previous pages have demonstrated, these solutions, premised upon the philosophy that nature is a resource to be managed, are highly visible, easily assessed and readily assimilated into institutional performance documentation. Reducing sustainability issues and dilemmas into a set of relatively simple comparisons, values and definitions enables the engineering of precise solutions based on models of efficiency and accountability. However, by solving the sustainability problem in this way, the corporate university simultaneously endorses its own authority and banishes alternative discourses and approaches to sustainability to the margins. Selby and Kagawa have expressed concern about the “papering over (of) incompatibilities” and the absence of “deep critical reflection” in these instances” (Selby & Kagawa, 2010). As Universities negotiate the challenging 21st century space between innovation and accountability, “green scorecard” complacency and managerial discourses of containment will continue to be attractive options. However, if a deep and full engagement with all the issues presented by sustainability is to be achieved then universities must exercise their traditional mandate to inform public discourse and advance knowledge (Lemons, 2010). The way to achieve this is to allow the discourses of ecology to move beyond the countercultural spaces in which they have historically operated and allow them to actively participate in the sustainability debate. We believe that a variety of alternative representatives should be invited to a seat at the managerial table if universities are to truly meet the challenge which faces us all. 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The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 34 Alphabetical List of Australian Universities signatory to the Talloires Declaration as of October 22, 2010 1. Australian National University, Canberra 2. Bond University, Queensland 3. Canberra Institute of Technology, ACT 4. Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW 5. La Trobe University, Melbourne, Bundoora, Victoria 6. Monash University, Victoria 7. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne 8. Southern Cross University, New South Wales 9. Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria 10. University of Canberra, ACT 11. University of Melbourne, Victoria 12. University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales 13. University of New England, New South Wales 14. University of New South Wales, Sydney 15. University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 16. University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Tasmania; Professor Daryl Le Grew, Vice Chancellor and President; 21 October 2009 17. University of Technology, Sydney 18. University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland 19. University of Western Sydney, New South Wales 35 The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities The Functional Dynamics of Green Universities 36