Framework for sustainability analysis for higher education institutions: Application in a case study

Diego de Queiroz Machado, Fátima Regina Ney Matos, Augusto Marcos Carvalho de Sena, Ana Silvia Rocha Ipiranga


This study analyzed the sustainable activities of a higher education institution, considering its economic, social and environmental dimensions (triple bottom line), from the application of a new framework of analysis. Therefore, we chose to use the case study methodology, held in an HEI, the University of Fortaleza (Unifor), selected as a case for this research by the various awards received in recent years for its targeted actions and projects for sustainability . The sources used include HEI data, documentary evidence related to the university, and semi-structured interviews conducted with vice-deans, directors and heads of university divisions, and the data organized and analyzed with the aid of analysis software of qualitative data NVivo (version 10) and the application of the content analysis technique. As a result, the highlights in terms of major sustainable capacity were the activities related to the economic consequences of activities, social responsibility projects and relationships with stakeholders. In contrast, the activities within the environmental dimension, environmental management and environmental education, had the lowest level of development with sustainable capacity. Thus, the implementation of the new framework of analysis has highlighted the university’s actual development stage around their sustainable activities, highlighting such a framework as an alternative to analysis frameworks already developed in this area.



sustainability; triple bottom line; higher education institutions; framework analysis; case study


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