Publication Date

2017

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher-Education

Volume

18

Issue

7

First Page

1311

Last Page

1330

Department

Managing for Sustainability

Abstract

Administrators in higher-education settings routinely create planning documents that help steer the organization in mission-centric ways. In the area of sustainability planning, strategic plans, sustainability plans, climate action plans are the most common methods used. However, the academic literature contains relatively few empirical studies that demonstrate the capacity of planning on the realization of sustainability outcomes. The present study was designed to evaluate if specific forms of planning predict sustainability outcomes. This question was evaluated via an empirical archival study of the AASHE STARS database in relation to Planning, Administration, and Governance credits and criteria to determine if specific forms of planning were predictive of sustainability implementation outcomes in the categories of Education and Research, Operations, Diversity and Affordability, Human Resources, Investment, Public Engagement, and Innovation. Findings support the notion that climate action plans were most predictive of achieving sustainability outcomes, and strategic plans were best able to predict educational outcomes. These findings have important implications for the design and execution of sustainability planning processes in higher-education institutions.

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