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Voluntary disclosure of sustainability reports by Canadian universities

Remmer Sassen () and Leyla Azizi
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Remmer Sassen: University of Hamburg
Leyla Azizi: University of Hamburg

Journal of Business Economics, 2018, vol. 88, issue 1, 97-137

Abstract: Abstract In contrast to corporate firms, voluntary sustainability reporting by universities is still in its infancy. Against this background, we have investigated which Canadian universities report their sustainability performance and what specifically is reported. Our study applies content analyses as a methodological approach to determine the relative importance of disclosure topics by using a university-specific catalogue of indicators. This unique study completely covers all sustainability reports published between 2011 and 2015 by Canadian universities and as such provides evidence and analyses of voluntary sustainability reporting by universities, which has been the subject of very little research to date. The findings show that sustainability reporting by Canadian universities diverges considerably and the range of aspects included is relatively narrow. Overall, the results show a clear focus on the environmental dimension and very weak coverage of the social dimension. The environmental orientation of many Canadian universities seems to be a result of their participation in the STARS program.

Keywords: Sustainability reporting; University; Voluntary disclosure; Higher-education institution; Canada; Content analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q56 I23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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