The Implementation of Sustainable Development in the Nordic Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

Meeri Karvinen, Ullika Lundgren, Helena Mälkki, Jaana Sorvari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Education has a key role in sustainable future. Due to their high societal impact,
universities are challenged to take a leadership role in promoting sustainability.
Although many Nordic HEIs have made efforts to integrate sustainability into
their operations, the current status of sustainability has remained unexplored.
This paper describes how the Nordic HEIs have studied the status of
sustainability by implementing a joint project in the Rio+20 framework. The
project included a wide survey on the implementation of Rio+20 goals targeted
to the university staff, and three interactive workshops on drivers, indicators and
implementation. The results provide an insight on how the Nordic HEIs
implement sustainability, highlighting the key drivers, barriers and ways to
promote sustainability. Finally, the project recognized and initiated new topics
for collaboration around indicators and sustainability literacy to assure the
continuity of the intensive collaboration between Nordic universities. This paper
encourages universities globally to find areas for collaboration and to strive
together to reach more sustainable societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationWorld Sustainability Series
EditorsW. Leal Filho, Mark Mifsud, Chris Shiel, Rudi Pretorius
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-47895-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-47894-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameWorld Sustainability Series
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISSN (Electronic)2199-7373


  • Rio+20
  • ESD
  • Campus greening
  • Nordic HEIs
  • Sustainability

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