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The Business Case for Corporate Sustainability:: Literature Review and Research Options

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  • Salzmann, Oliver
  • Ionescu-somers, Aileen
  • Steger, Ulrich
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    Abstract

    In the last ten years, the notion of a 'business case' for corporate sustainability has increasingly been used by the corporate sector, environmental organizations, consultancies and so on, to seek justification for sustainability strategies within organizations. In this paper, we aim to systemize and assess existing research and tools related to this increasingly popular concept. We present a review of (1) theoretical frameworks, (2) instrumental studies aiming to either prove or disprove a hypothesized causal sequence between corporate social or environmental performance and financial performance, (3) descriptive studies examining manager's actual perceptions and practices, and finally (4) tools. We identify a clearly insufficient understanding of manager's key arguments or business logic for adopting corporate sustainability strategies (how 'business cases' are built, how effective they are and what barriers they face). We attribute this primarily to lack of descriptive research in these areas.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Management Journal.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 27-36

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:23:y:2005:i:1:p:27-36

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    Keywords: Corporate sustainability Business in society Environmental performance Financial performance Corporate social responsibility;

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    Cited by:
    1. Kent Walker & Fang Wan, 2012. "The Harm of Symbolic Actions and Green-Washing: Corporate Actions and Communications on Environmental Performance and Their Financial Implications," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 227-242, August.
    2. Heiko Spitzeck, 2011. "An Integrated Model of Humanistic Management," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 51-62, March.
    3. Tomáš KLIEŠTIK & Katarína VALÁŠKOVÁ, 2013. "Models Of Capital Costs Quantification," Journal of Advanced Research in Management, ASERS Publishing, vol. 0(1), pages 5-19, July.
    4. Irina – Eugenia IAMANDI & Andreea Raluca CARAGIN, & Alina CHICIUDEAN & Mihaela Cristina DRAGOI, 2007. "Corporate Social Responsibility – Analysing Social and Financial Performance The Case of Romania," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(3-4), pages 19-30.
    5. Kang, Yoolee & Ryu, Min-Ho & Kim, Seongcheol, 2010. "Exploring sustainability management for telecommunications services: A case study of two Korean companies," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 415-421, October.
    6. Timo Busch & Bryan T. Stinchfield & Matthew S. Wood, 2011. "A Triptych Inquiry: Rethinking Sustainability, Innovation, and Financial Performance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-026/2/DSF 9, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Zahir Dossa & Katrin Kaeufer, 2014. "Understanding Sustainability Innovations Through Positive Ethical Networks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(4), pages 543-559, February.
    8. Dong-shang Chang & Li-chin Regina Kuo, 2008. "The effects of sustainable development on firms' financial performance - an empirical approach," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(6), pages 365-380.
    9. Les Coleman, 2011. "Losses from Failure of Stakeholder Sensitive Processes: Financial Consequences for Large US Companies from Breakdowns in Product, Environmental, and Accounting Standards," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(2), pages 247-258, January.
    10. Figge, Frank & Hahn, Tobias, 2012. "Is green and profitable sustainable? Assessing the trade-off between economic and environmental aspects," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 92-102.
    11. Schaltegger, Stefan & Burritt, Roger L., 2010. "Sustainability accounting for companies: Catchphrase or decision support for business leaders?," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 375-384, October.
    12. Daniel Holland & Chad Albrecht, 2013. "The Worldwide Academic Field of Business Ethics: Scholars’ Perceptions of the Most Important Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(4), pages 777-788, November.
    13. Massimo Battaglia & Francesco Testa & Lara Bianchi & Fabio Iraldo & Marco Frey, 2014. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness within SMEs of the Fashion Industry: Evidence from Italy and France," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 872-893, February.
    14. Gallear, David & Ghobadian, Abby & Chen, Weifeng, 2012. "Corporate responsibility, supply chain partnership and performance: An empirical examination," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 83-91.
    15. Tobias Hahn & Frank Figge, 2011. "Beyond the Bounded Instrumentality in Current Corporate Sustainability Research: Toward an Inclusive Notion of Profitability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(3), pages 325-345, December.
    16. Law, Kris M.Y. & Gunasekaran, Angappa, 2012. "Sustainability development in high-tech manufacturing firms in Hong Kong: Motivators and readiness," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 116-125.
    17. Francesco Perrini & Angeloantonio Russo & Antonio Tencati & Clodia Vurro, 2011. "Deconstructing the Relationship Between Corporate Social and Financial Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 102(1), pages 59-76, March.
    18. Hediger, Werner, 2010. "Welfare and capital-theoretic foundations of corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 518-526, August.
    19. Claudio Aqueveque & Catherine Encina, 2010. "Corporate Behavior, Social Cynicism, and Their Effect on Individuals’ Perceptions of the Company," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 311-324, February.
    20. Nathalie Dagorn & Guillaume Biot- Paquerot & Andréa Zanusso, 2013. "Le reporting traduit-il toujours la réalité des faits ? Le cas du reporting sociétal," Post-Print hal-01002929, HAL.
    21. Li, N. & Toppinen, A., 2011. "Corporate responsibility and sustainable competitive advantage in forest-based industry: Complementary or conflicting goals?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 113-123.

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