Higher education institutions, such as universities, formulate strategies and undertake initiatives to support sustainable development (SD). Scholars draw up and examine sustainability reports as the main institutional documents to assess and communicate universities’ efforts towards SD. However, the presupposition of a commitment to SD by the university community is the declaration included in their codes of ethics, which can subsequently be verified and included in their sustainability reports. Thus, although codes of ethics orient strategies, no studies have yet attempted to examine if they can be considered as a communication tool able to express a university’s commitment to SD. This exploratory study aims to investigate if and how the codes of ethics of the Italian public universities reflect their commitment towards SD. Content analysis was carried out using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. The findings suggest that SD is a common aim among Italian universities, although it is not explicitly communicated in their codes of ethics, and that each university contributes to SD in different ways. In practical terms, this study suggests to adopt an approach that is better directed towards SD to improve universities’ codes of ethics and compliant strategies.

Do Codes of Ethics Reveal a University’s Commitment to Sustainable Development? Evidence from Italy

Mion G.
;
Broglia A.;Bonfanti A.
2019-01-01

Abstract

Higher education institutions, such as universities, formulate strategies and undertake initiatives to support sustainable development (SD). Scholars draw up and examine sustainability reports as the main institutional documents to assess and communicate universities’ efforts towards SD. However, the presupposition of a commitment to SD by the university community is the declaration included in their codes of ethics, which can subsequently be verified and included in their sustainability reports. Thus, although codes of ethics orient strategies, no studies have yet attempted to examine if they can be considered as a communication tool able to express a university’s commitment to SD. This exploratory study aims to investigate if and how the codes of ethics of the Italian public universities reflect their commitment towards SD. Content analysis was carried out using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. The findings suggest that SD is a common aim among Italian universities, although it is not explicitly communicated in their codes of ethics, and that each university contributes to SD in different ways. In practical terms, this study suggests to adopt an approach that is better directed towards SD to improve universities’ codes of ethics and compliant strategies.
codes of ethics, higher education institutions, strategic management, sustainability reports, sustainable development goals (SDGs), Italian public universities, communication tool, ethical values, corporate social responsibility, sustainability practices
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/992621
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