Sustainability: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives

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The concept of sustainability is inherently multi-disciplinary because it concerns a complex system having economic, technological, ecological, political, and other perspectives. Consequently, any ...
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The Case and Practice for Sustainability in Business

Pp. 310-339 (30)

Beth Beloff and Arnaud Chevallier

Abstract

Over the past fifty years, the concept of corporate sustainability has been evolving. To date, there is not a single commonly accepted definition for it, although managing the triple bottom line—economic, environmental and social aspects—is gaining traction. Companies see different types of value in embracing sustainability, from reducing costs to enhancing their brand reputation and fostering product innovation. This chapter describes the multiple meanings of corporate sustainability, introduces the drivers of sustainability, explains how key historical events have shaped it and reviews the typical path that companies have taken to incorporate sustainability into their business agenda. It also provides a description of the value proposition that motivates companies to embrace it and challenges in achieving that value.

Keywords:

Altamira hydroelectric dam, apartheid, bhopal, brand management, brent spar, brundtland commission, copenhagen climate conference, corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility, corporate sustainability, corporate sustainability learning curve, deepwater horizon BP oil spill, eco-efficiency, ESG (environment social governance), environmental, social, economic dimensions, exxon-valdez, GEMI global environmental management initiative, greenhouse gas measurement protocols, greenwashing, innovation, IPCC, ISO 14001, Kayapo Indians, lifecycle assessment, our common future, precautionary principle, Rio conference, silent spring, sustainability, sustainable development, supply chain, triple-bottom-line, value chain.

Affiliation:

Principal, Beth Beloff & Associates; President, BRIDGES to Sustainability Institute, Houston, TX, USA