University leadership in climate mitigation: reducing emissions from waste through carbon pricing

Syracuse University, Seoul National University

Publication Release Date: Aug. 13, 2021
Date Posted: May 11, 2022
Submitted by: Lillian Makhoul
Sustainability Topics: Air & Climate, Waste
Content Type: Publications
Publisher: Emerald Insight
Periodical Name: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Type: Journal Article


Purpose - This paper aims to investigate potential impact of internal carbon pricing in emission reduction in Higher education institutions (HEIs). Over the past century, human activities have increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere. If GHG emissions continue their upward trend, this will disturb the natural balance and trigger abrupt changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change would require a substantial and sustained reduction in GHG emissions from all sectors. HEIs, as major emitters, indeed need to respond to the demand to become more sustainable by making practical changes to the way their institution is run.

Design/methodology/approach - Using emission data associated with campus waste, this study describes how HEIs can take the lead on emission reduction through the implementation of carbon pricing.

Findings - Specifically, this study estimates the cost of emissions from campus waste to illustrate the primary benefits of internal carbon pricing for scaling up campus carbon neutrality initiatives and describes practical implications for enhancing sustainable waste management in a university setting. This study will contribute to identifying the potential for emissions reduction through waste management using a carbon pricing mechanism in university settings.

Originality/value - While carbon pricing has long been regarded as an alternative approach to tackling carbon pollution, it has not been thoroughly explored with regard to waste management.