The Perception of Sustainability in the University: Implications for Undergraduates’ Attitudes towards Responsible Consumption

By Ana Lanero, José Luis Vázquez, María Purificación García and Helena M. Alves.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At a time when adaptation of professional profiles to the new socioeconomic needs has became a priority for the new structure of higher education in Europe, it seems pertinent to analyze the concept of sustainability in organizations held by students, as future workers in both the private and public sectors. Likewise, as consumers, knowledge of undergraduates’ expectations of social responsibilities to be fulfilled by enterprises is useful as a guidance to improve adaptation of corporate decisions to the demands of specific segments of such an objective public. In this context, this study is intended to analyze the responsibilities attributed by students to organizations in their daily activity, just as the relationship of those attributions with their behavior as consumers. Self-reported data was collected through a structured questionnaire from a total sample of 400 students at a Spanish university. Descriptive and multivariate analysis revealed a relative awareness of the relevance of responsible criteria for students in the various disciplines considered, particularly when concerned with observable social and environmental responsibilities. However, some differences emerged between students in the various academic areas considered. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Consumer Behaviour, Responsible Consumption, Higher Education, University Students, Spain

International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.131-141. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 271.519KB).

Prof. Ana Lanero

Assistant Professor, Department of Business Management and Economy, University of León, León, Spain

Prof. José Luis Vázquez

Professor, Department of Business Management and Economy, University of León, León, Spain

Prof. María Purificación García

Professor, Department of Business and Private Law, University of León, León, Spain

Prof. Helena M. Alves

Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Economics, University of Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal