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A systemic approach to incorporate sustainability into university courses and curricula

  • A Lidgren
  • Håkan Rodhe
  • Donald Huisingh
Publishing year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 797-809
Publication/Series: Journal of Cleaner Production
Volume: 14
Issue: 9-11
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

This article is based on an analysis of Lund University that took place during the summer and autumn of 2004 (available for download at, click library and publications). The university had experienced a loss of momentum in their progress regarding environmental issues. The purpose of the study was to identify barriers to including sustainability-related content throughout Lund University curricula, and eventually to develop solutions to eliminate/overcome these barriers. The article describes how Meadows' "Places to intervene in a system" [Meadows D. Leverage points: places to intervene in a system. Hartland, VT, USA: Sustainability Institute; 1999] was used as a tool to systematically discover these barriers. The same intervention places are used as a basis for deriving solutions to eliminate/overcome the barriers. The main conclusions of this article are that Meadows list can be a useful tool to a. systematically identify and characterise the barriers towards achieving the organisational objective of incorporating SD into courses and curricula; b. identify ways to overcome these barriers; c. increase chances that these barriers are addressed with sufficient leverage. The authors also experienced that the work method described here provides excellent fuel for creativity. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • curriculum changes
  • sustainability in higher education
  • leverage points
  • university curricula
  • sustainable development
  • system interventions
  • higher education
  • organisational analysis


  • ISSN: 0959-6526
Håkan Rodhe
E-mail: hakan [dot] rodhe [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
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