فرآیند ها و شیوه های اجرای سیستم های مدیریت زیست محیطی (EMS) در موسسات آموزش عالی اروپا - رویکردهای بالا به پایین در مقابل مشارکتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|6485||2012||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 31, August 2012, Pages 80–90
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) have been implemented on a large scale to improve companies' environmental performance and to certify their achievements. More recently, universities are following this trend, which has been brought forward by the debate about campus sustainability. This empirical international research investigates EMS development and implementation processes in universities around Europe, providing an overview about European higher education institutions with EMS implemented at their campuses, and focuses on a comparison of top-down versus participatory implementation approaches. In addition to regional differences, this article discusses in which aspects an EMS at the campus can be seen as a tool that goes beyond operational aspects to tackle campus sustainability. Furthermore, it provides implications for the professional practice.
An increasing number of companies and institutions have become aware of their environmental impact, together with their social and environmental responsibilities. Environmental Management Systems (EMS) have been implemented on a large scale to improve companies' environmental performance and to certify their achievements. Although these tools have primarily been used by industries and corporations in the private sector, more recently organizations in the public sector and educational institutions such as universities have begun to use this certification process as well. They aim to reduce their environmental impact and, with special regard to universities, to embrace the ‘environmental imperative’, as named by several authors, and to integrate systemically sustainability into higher education institutions (Adomssent et al., 2008; Cortese, 2003; Hansen and Lehmann, 2006; Lozano, 2006; Sharp, 2002; Weenen van, 2000). In light of the complex challenges today's world is confronted with, universities have been attributed a twofold mission: Firstly, universities are called on to reduce their environmental impact as operating institutions, caused through direct activities, e.g. the use of classrooms and laboratories for teaching and research, offices and catering within the provision of management, administration and support services, and indirect actions, e.g. commuting and consumption of food and drink by the university's community. Secondly, they are called up to carry out research and teaching in the field of sustainability, and on creating settings that allow students and staff to develop new competencies that lead to more sustainable practices and finally to a more sustainable society (Alshuwaikait and Abubakar, 2008). Campus sustainability links both – the operational aspects of teaching, research and institutional administration, like reducing energy consumption, emissions, materials, waste, and improvement of waste management, – as well as the educational aspect of teaching sustainability and providing opportunities to its internal and external community to learn, to reflect and to develop new practices and life style concepts that take into account the well-being of current and future generations. According to Cortese (2003), a university system consists of four dimensions, namely Education, Research, University Operations and External Community, which often have been seen as separate, based on hierarchical and competitive structures. But in order to develop a vision for a sustainable campus, he argues that it is necessary to understand the interdependence among these dimensions and to increase the collaboration between them, “as all parts are critical to achieving a transformative change (ibid.) Lozano (2006) adds a fifth dimension of “Assessment and Reporting” that should be considered in an ongoing manner. Departing from the point of view that EMS at the campus can have an impact on any of the dimensions described above, the paper aims to investigate aspects beyond the operational dimension to which EMS are usually connected because of their focus on quantitative measurements of environmental performance. Case studies (e.g. Ferreira et al., 2006; Nicolaides, 2006 and Sammalisto and Brorson, 2008) show that EMS at the campus can be used in a broader sense beyond campus operations, blending also the dimensions of education, research, relationship with stakeholders identified by Cortese (2003) as well the continuous strive for improvement through assessment and reporting, identified by Lozano (2006). However, EMS at the campus are still a relatively sparsely chosen initiative in spite of the positive examples listed above. Concrete numbers are unknown since neither a national nor global register exists. Due to the specific structures and characteristics of higher education institutions it may even be questionable if EMS at the campus indeed successfully work, when looking at studies about barriers to campus greening (e.g. Dahle and Neumayer, 2001; Lozano, 2006). Therefore, this research was motivated by the interest to find out concrete numbers of existing EMS at the campus, the drivers for their implementation and to compare top-down versus participatory implementation approaches that would allow discussing their impact on the five dimensions of a university system described above. It was chosen to focus on the European academic landscape only, in order to be able to make a more profound comparison of regional differences than it would have been on a global scale. The research objectives led to the following main research questions: (1) What is the current state of EMS implementation processes and practices at European universities? (2) Which are the main drivers to implement an EMS? (3) How have the EMS been implemented and how have students and staff been involved in the process? (4) Which measurement and reporting tools have been used? (5) How can these processes and practices be developed further and which implications exist for the professional practice? Besides regional differences, this article discusses if an EMS at the campus can be seen as one tool beyond operational aspects to tackle campus sustainability, and provides implications for the professional practice. The results of this study shall contribute to the discussion about how sustainable development can be integrated in higher education institutions and specifically how EMS can improve campus sustainability. 1.1. Sustainable development and the role of universities Due to their high societal impact, universities are challenged to take a leadership role in sustainability issues. As universities educate the next generation of decision-makers and influencers, universities can have a vastly greater impact on sustainable development than any other single sector of society (Chambers, 2009). The debate about campus sustainability has grown over the last three decades. Several international conferences and declarations are proof of this growth (e.g. The Stockholm Declaration (UNEP, 1972), the UNESCO conference in Tbilisi, Georgia (1977) (UNESCO, 1977); the Talloires Declaration (1990) (ULSF, 2008), the Earth Summit (1992) in Rio de Janeiro and the Agenda 21 with its chapters 35 and 36 (UNCED, 1992), the “Copernicus Charter” (1993) (Copernicus Alliance, 2010)). These have all been significant steps in spreading the discussion about the role of universities as multipliers for sustainable development and how the objective of integrating campus sustainability can be approached (Chambers, 2009; Cortese, 2003; Nicolaides, 2006). They led to an increasing number of campus initiatives in this field that also got promoted by the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005–2014, proclaimed by the UNESCO (UNESCO, 2010). Three stages of sustainability implementation at a university have been identified (Leal Filho, 2009): Stage 1, in which the principles of sustainable development are not integrally understood and no strong efforts were undertaken yet towards promoting sustainability at the institution; systematic projects or a holistic approach are still lacking; Stage 2, in which significant efforts towards sustainable campus operations have been realized, the principles of sustainable development are broadly understood and projects exist to promote sustainability as a whole or in the context of specific subjects and/or research; Stage 3, in which the university has fulfilled the requirements of the previous stages and has a long-term commitment towards contributing to sustainable development, e.g. by means of sustainability policies, and/or by means of certification (ISO 14001 or EMAS), and by means of the existence of senior staff members in charge of the coordination of sustainability efforts and projects. EMS can therefore be seen as a proof of an institution's process in following sustainable principles, and as a sign of the institution's orientation towards incorporating sustainability at an advanced level. 1.2. Public participation Promoting sustainable development is closely linked to the field of public participation and citizen involvement. Participation and empowerment are two terms associated with the development of key competencies for sustainable development. The first term means that “individuals must be provided with numerous opportunities throughout their lives to acquire the information and skills necessary to enact the citizen role” (Howell et al., 1987); the second describes a multidimensional process of learning to think critically and to effect change in the personal life and in the community. Particularly the latter aspect calls on citizens to be personally involved in the decision processes (Florin and Wandersman, 1990). Agenda 21 stresses the importance of public participation as a “fundamental pre-requisite for the achievement of sustainable development” (UNCED, 1992). The governance strategy “Citizens as partners” of the OECD countries and the Aarhus Convention, approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 1998 are aligned with this approach (OECD, 2001; UNECE, 2001). Regarding the link between sustainable development and public participation, several advantageous aspects have been identified (Meadowcroft, 2004): (i) reconcile and redefine individuals' and groups' interests, (ii) contribute to shaping the future and (iii) adjust to impending change. Furthermore in terms of normative values and learning, participation allows (iv) facilitating a more complete disclosure of existing attitudes, (v) juxtaposing different approaches, (vi) promoting the integration of knowledge and the adaptation of governance to cross-cutting contexts relevant to sustainable development, (vii) promoting adaptive management and knowledge acquisition by societal partners and government. The International Association for Public Participation (2007) divides public participation into five levels, in which the public impact and level of participation increase when activities or methods are directed towards involvement and empowerment (Fig. 1). The effectiveness of empowerment has been studied within several contexts and its positive impacts have been proven empirically (Conger and Kanungo, 1988; Holyoak, 2001). Meanwhile it has also linked to the future employability of the higher education students, since empowerment enhances the students' so called self-skills, such as self-motivation, self-confidence and self-management, but also other recognized abilities like critical thinking, continuous learning, curiosity, developing ideas, taking initiatives, adapting to work culture and developing it further (Harvey, 2000). Applied to the university context, participation refers to students', faculty and staff involvement, giving the institutional community the opportunity to put into practice sustainability principles at a meso and micro level, e.g. in their academic, personal and professional life, and to be engaged in institutional change processes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Campus sustainability is receiving growing attention and has become a well-established study field, even though campus sustainability itself has not become a reality yet in most universities. We see an EMS as one tool in the overall process to enhance campus sustainability. With respect to the implementation of an EMS at the campus, we regard a participatory or a mix of top-down and participatory approach as most effective to accomplish the twofold mission of a university stated in our introduction: (1) To reduce the institutional environmental impact and (2) to carry out research and teaching, offering opportunities to increase awareness for complex coherences and to develop competencies that lead to more sustainable practices. If an EMS is implemented only by a top-down process, it may achieve environmental improvements within the universities' operations, but it would exclude the educational aspect of campus sustainability. Only in combination with participation, the EMS can be a powerful supportive tool not only for improving operational environmental performance, but for creating the necessary settings that allow a paradigm shift to sustainable practices within all dimensions of a university system. It can bring forward the discussion about campus sustainability and increase the understanding as well as the internal and external collaboration between all stakeholders of a university system. Even though EMS can therefore be considered an important tool among sustainability initiatives, the success, effectiveness and visibility of any action undertaken would depend on each institution's vision, effort and resources. A frequently reported barrier to campus greening has been the overall lack of awareness from students, faculty and staff. By offering hands-on approaches to tackle complex problems, the situation can be reversed. With regard to the global challenges and expected changes in the job markets, it is particularly essential to prepare the students in the best way for the needs we are confronted with and to involve them in establishing new sustainable strategies. EMS at the campus can help offering these practical learning experiences, and we hope that this paper may be a useful source of reflection and guideline for higher education institutions that either already pursue an EMS or that are considering to start an implementation process. Campus sustainability and particularly the field of campus EMS are emerging research areas. Clarke and Kouri (2009) listed several research requests for further international comparisons of campus EMS, e.g. empirical investigation on different structures and processes of an EMS and on staff responsibilities. Other aspects for future research may be: (i) economic, environmental, and social benefits of an EMS at the campus (e.g. assessment of the consumption of resources, level of awareness of the community); (ii) institutional changes due to the EMS process (e.g. related to the incorporation and institutionalization process of sustainable development in universities); (iii) further environmental management tools and sustainability indicators (e.g. that refer to Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance); (iv) exploration of further assessment and reporting tools for sustainability at campuses (e.g. GASU, AISHE, Sustainability Report Card, STARS) and how these are applied. With regard to participatory processes, future research is needed to develop assessment tools for participatory processes in order to measure their effectiveness and success, helping to answer questions like “Does a high participation mean an effective sustainable campus”? Research about the contribution of participatory processes to students' maturity, personal development and the overall development of key competencies for sustainable development of the university's community's members (students, faculty and staff) is still underexplored.