Leading universities in sustainability: an analysis of carbon footprint initiatives in Latin America





carbon footprint, sustainability, university, emissions management


Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are quantified through the carbon footprint (CF). As world leaders in technical innovation, universities should lead the transition to carbon neutrality. However, few Latin American universities compile, publish and establish carbon footprint targets. In this context, the aim of this study is to evaluate the actions proposed by Latin American universities, using information from Scopus, ScienceDirect, Redalyc, PubMed and Google Scholar, in order to assess measurement (M), mitigation (MT) and compensation (C) techniques for GHG emissions, in accordance with the provisions of ISO 14064:2018. It was determined that 55 universities emitted 526,998.89 tons of CO2eq in the period 2016-2022. Indirect fuel consumption (39.38%) is the main source of emissions, while sustainable transport (26.1%), renewable technology (21.7%), waste management (16.7%), management and eco-efficiency best practices (19.6%), and waste management (17.4%), mitigate emissions. GHG offset operations include reforestation, the purchasing of carbon credits, and campus green terraces, with carbon capture projects in Latin America totaling 182 383.67 tons of CO2eq/year.