Foundations for Effective Sustainability Education

Lynne Eagle, David Low, Peter Case, Lisa Vandommele

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Universities are increasing their focus on sustainability and related issues, and the ways in which these can be effectively communicated via curricula. While many issues have significant implications for future business practices and individual lifestyles, simple communication of information will not be sufficient to change student’s attitudes, beliefs and, ultimately, behaviours. There is increasing concern regarding a number of aspects of sustainability and the disjuncture between issue-awareness and individual actions that might address sustainability challenges. The identification of key barriers to and enablers of behaviour change to reduce sustainability problems is of particular pedagogical and public policy importance. This paper investigates undergraduate students’ perceptions, attitudes and beliefs regarding sustainability. It explores perceptions of their own contributions to sustainability problems and barriers to, and enablers of, behaviour. Findings reveal naïve awareness of the potential impact of, and individual contributions to, sustainability and environmental challenges. Respondents exhibited a tendency to regard major issues as ’beyond personal control’, and solutions as being the ’responsibility of others’. These perceptions are coupled with a reluctance to consider major lifestyle changes. The findings of the study have multiple uses including guiding the development and implementation of curriculum content. They will also provide the foundation for the development of intervention strategies and tactics that should be considered in order to achieve long-term positive behaviour change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
EditorsNitza Jones
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


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