Sustainability Policies if Necessary but Not Necessarily Sustainability Policies

Roger Auguste Petry

Abstract


The paper examines the appropriateness and limitations of campus sustainability policies as a tool for advancing campus sustainability. It begins by exploring the case of a mid-sized university in the prairie region of Canada, the University of Regina, along with the co-evolution of the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development in Saskatchewan (RCE Saskatchewan), of which the University of Regina is a founding partner. It highlights the challenges implementing sustainability policies in both contexts yet, despite this absence of policy, the respective advances in campus sustainability initiatives through each. To account for this seeming paradox, the paper explores how, while on the surface, sustainability policies might be viewed as central to advancing specific social and political sustainability objectives within an organization along with greater efficiency and effectiveness in resource allocation towards sustainability goals, the nature of policy within an increasingly corporatized university structure and professionalized sustainability management system may potentially impede these objectives. The paper concludes by highlighting the value of a decentralized approach that respects and integrates the traditional scholarly accountability of universities that promote academic freedom along with a current need to create sustainable scholarly livelihoods that advance this freedom in an increasingly restrictive organizational environment.

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