So far, sustainability reporting in higher education is in a very early stage – partly, because of the lack of an established and widely recognized sustainability reporting framework for higher education institutions (HEIs). Therefore, a modification of the sustainability code for the use in the higher education context was recently developed in Germany. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate this modification from an academic point of view.Design/methodology/approachThe evaluation of the sustainability code is based on selected reporting principles drawn from frameworks of sustainability and financial reporting.FindingsThe evaluation shows that to a large extent, the modification of the sustainability code for HEIs contributes to the fulfillment of the selected reporting principles. However, it also became evident that there is still room for improvement, especially in terms of clarity and the inclusion of material aspects.Practical implicationsThe need for an implementation manual regarding the modified HEI-specific sustainability code is emphasized, as the sustainability code requires further clarification to be manageable for HEIs.Originality/valueThis paper provides suggestions for the further development of a sustainability reporting guideline for HEIs to enhance its alignment with both sustainability reporting principles and the needs of HEIs.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 18, 2018
Keywords: Higher education; Sustainability reporting; Reporting framework; Reporting guideline; Reporting principles; Sustainability code