Sustainability is becoming an integral part of the university system. A global trend among universities shows that they are revising their missions and strategies by embodying sustainability on their agenda. This study aims to define what a sustainable university is and how implementing sustainability and more precisely environmental sustainability can be measured at the higher education institutions. The contextual background of this study will elaborate on the role of higher education systems and institutions in promoting sustainable development and creating a sustainable society.In this study the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development are analysed from a systemic perspective. Moreover the Cybernetics theory and Viable System Model for sustainability at higher education institutions are presented. This is to address how environmental sustainability can be implemented at higher education institutions in a systemic and viable way.The theoretical framework will be operationalized and a tool of fifty indicators will be developed to measure the level of environmental sustainability at twenty international universities. The result of this measurement is compared to the environmental sustainability performance at the University of Oslo which is the main case study in this thesis.The study is conducted in a qualitative way through content analysing the sample universities performance in sustainability, benchmarking their efforts and comparing with each other. The study will also analyse the sustainability performance of the University of Oslo in detail and will show how the process of implementing sustainability has progressed from 2010 to 2012 at this university.
Keywords: Environmental Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions, Sustainable Development, Measuring Sustainability performance, Viable System Model for Sustainability, Systemic Approach