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Defining sustainability metric targets in an institutional setting.
Zeitschriftenausgabe (-> Ref.Nr):
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Seite (von-bis):
– The purpose of this paper is to expand on the development of university and college sustainability metrics by implementing an adaptable metric target strategy.

– A combined qualitative and quantitative methodology is derived that both defines what a sustainable metric target might be and describes the path a university might take to get there. Local to global spatial scales and short to long-term time scales are accounted for. Four popular metrics are developed: carbon emissions, water use, recycling rate, and energy use. Sustainability metric data available from Yale University are utilized to show the applicability of this metric target strategy.

– Targets for sustainability metrics may be set at short, medium, and long-term time scales. While quantitative targets may be set for sustainability metrics, these are often long-term ideals that offer no information on the path to achieve them. If a path to achieving these targets is outlined, it is often arbitrary quantitatively, if not also qualitatively. This paper finds that sustainability metric targets can be founded upon clearly delineated, rigorously quantified targets. At the same time, the process framework for developing sustainability metric targets is adaptable to the unique situation of a particular university. This adaptable metric target strategy reflects the ideals of sustainability to be at one time both local and global in scope. The metric target strategy is globally applicably, but the sustainability metric targets produced will be unique to each institution.

Research limitations/implications
– The process framework for developing sustainable metric targets is only outlined for four popular metrics. Achieving these four targets alone will certainly not define a university as sustainable. Further development of other sustainability metrics utilizing the framework presented would be helpful.

Practical implications
– The application to real metric data shows the feasibility of this approach for use at other universities and colleges. They can define their own sustainability targets using the approach outlined.

– This paper highlights how sustainability metrics being collected by universities may be used to define a target path towards sustainability. The process framework presented has the potential to provide unique solutions for each institution while remaining a universal methodological approach.
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