Integration of Sustainability Reporting at an Academic Institution

Walden University

Publication Release Date: Aug. 1, 2016
Date Posted: July 21, 2016
Submitted by: Julian Dautremont-Smith
Sustainability Topic: Coordination & Planning
Content Type: Publications
Type: Graduate Student Research


Leaders at nonprofit academic institutions are following the global business trend of embracing sustainability initiatives for positive social change; however, there has been slow growth in sustainability reporting among academic institutions. The purpose of this study was to explore the strategies and processes necessary for leaders and managers to integrate sustainability reporting into the reporting cycle for a nonprofit higher education institution. I conducted a single case study of a nonprofit academic institution that utilized sustainability reporting. The study sample consisted of 4 leaders and managers at a nonprofit academic institution located in the state of Michigan that published sustainability reports. The conceptual framework used for the study was corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability, and triple bottom line (TBL). The data collection process included interviews with leaders and managers involved in the sustainability reporting process and document reviews of the sustainability report and annual reports. I used a data-driven coding approach for data analysis. The codes were linked to create categories, and the categories led to the development of themes. The results revealed 5 themes regarding the sustainability reporting process, including the steps of the sustainability reporting process and the collaborative process in sustainability reporting. The implications for positive social change included the potential for greater transparency for students, faculty, staff, administration and community partners, and greater effectiveness of the implementation of environmental, economic, and social initiatives for higher education institutions and the community.