How the environment is conceptualised and represented globally in social work codes of ethics

Kang Liu, Catherine Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


While the environment is fundamental to humankind’s wellbeing, to date, social work has been largely focused on the social, rather than the physical, environment. To map how the broader environment is captured in the profession’s foundational documents, an exploratory sequential mixed methods study (QUAL → quan) analysed data from 64 social work codes of ethics. Findings indicate that although the environment is mentioned in the majority of these, there is a continued focus on the social, overlooking to some degree the physical, predominantly the built, environment. A more holistic understanding of the environment would enable social work to better fulfil its commitment to human rights and social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-888
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Built environment
  • codes of ethics
  • environment
  • human rights
  • physical environment
  • social justice

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