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How Green is Your Campus? An Analysis of the Factors that Drive Universities to Embrace Sustainability

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  • Sarah L. Stafford

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

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    Abstract

    I examine the factors that influence the adoption of sustainable practices by institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the U.S. Using data from the Sustainable Endowments Institute, I conduct an ordered probit analysis on 180 IHEs. The results show that size and wealth are significant factors in the adoption of sustainable practices and that stakeholders such as faculty, alumni, and the surrounding community also play an important role. I find no evidence that institutions adopt sustainability to attract students. Also, in contrast to the findings of similar studies on for-profit entities, there is no evidence that regulatory pressures encourage campus sustainability. I also examine the factors that affect the institutions’ decision to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC), a largely symbolic gesture. The results for the PCC are quite different than those for overall sustainability. Most importantly, neither wealth or size are significant factors in that decision.

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    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp77rev1.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 77.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: 25 Sep 2008
    Date of revision: 15 Sep 2010
    Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:77

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    Keywords: Sustainability; Higher Education; Regulatory Pressures; Stakeholder Influences; Voluntary Practices;

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    1. Madhu Khanna & William Rose Q. Anton, 2002. "Corporate Environmental Management: Regulatory and Market-Based Incentives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 539-558.
    2. Henriques, Irene & Sadorsky, Perry, 1996. "The Determinants of an Environmentally Responsive Firm: An Empirical Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-395, May.
    3. Benno Torgler & María A. García Valiñas & Alison Macintyre, 2008. "Differences in Preferences Towards the Environment: The Impact of a Gender, Age and Parental Effect," Working Papers 2008.18, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Eric W. Welch & Allan Mazur & Stuart Bretschneider, 2000. "Voluntary behavior by electric utilities: Levels of adoption and contribution of the climate challenge program to the reduction of carbon dioxide," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 407-425.
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