The role of HEIs in society’s transformation to sustainability: the case for embedding sustainability concepts in business programs

Liz Sidiropoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


Australia's educational system prepares the leaders, workers and decision makers of tomorrow and as such has a key role to play in shaping our economic and environmental welfare. This paper presents a case for embedding social and environmental sustainability issues/values in the curriculum of all core business subjects taught in higher education (HE) business programs. The argument is premised on the twin assertions that firstly, consumers and business leaders direct and control the flow of massive resources that significant impact society and the natural environment and secondly, that HE Business Schools have the intellectual and moral leadership to influence our capacity and willingness to make better informed choices. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is used as a theoretical framework to discuss individual and social values and our consequent decision making process in the absence of regulation. This paper concludes that irrespective of the nature of society (on the individualist-collectivist spectrum) and the degree of urbanisation/industrialisation, the growing international pressure to account for environmental and social consequences of our actions requires decision makers to be more aware, informed and capable of doing so. Thus, an absolute requirement for education for sustainability to be embedded in the curriculum of all core subjects in HE business programs in Australia, whether these are taught to domestic or international students. The paper also presents some suggestions for embedding sustainability in curriculum design and strategies for implementation, including greater linkages between.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 10th International Conference of Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability
EditorsKathryn Hegarty, Dianne Chambers, Almut Beringer
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherRMIT University
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)0646570285
ISBN (Print)9780646570280
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event 10th International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Conference - RMIT, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 10 Oct 201013 Oct 2010


Conference 10th International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Conference
Abbreviated titleACTS 2011


  • Environmental education-Study and teaching
  • Higher Education-Curricula;
  • Sustainable development-Environmental aspects

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