Publication / 27 Aug 2013

The Greening of Higher Education’s Academic Agenda

Trucost set out to examine the question – to what extent are higher education institutions specifically addressing natural capital as part of research and teaching curricula?

Over the past twelve years that Trucost has been researching natural capital issues, we have observed a dramatic increase in the number of sustainability related publications in the popular press and academic literature. Because natural capital focuses on business and the natural environment, we were curious – to what extent are higher education institutions specifically addressing natural capital as part of their research and teaching curricula?

To answer this question, Trucost reviewed the number of sustainability related academic publications and courses, and examined how natural capital is being incorporated into the academic agenda through several course examples. The following assessment is a meta-analysis that aggregates and builds upon research into aspects that have been completed previously by a number of organizations and individuals. The aim is to provide a more holistic review by combining relevant research with higher education’s green agenda and the extent that such institutions are focusing on natural capital.

Among the results are that, during the last decade, the number of sustainability focused research publications has increased by almost 200%. However, research into natural capital only makes up 10% of sustainability publications. This presents open research opportunities in the field of business and natural environment at the cutting edge of business management and scientific debates.

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