A Framework for Embedding Sustainability into the Fabric of Your Firm

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Systematic Review


Our team at NBS, with direction from the Leadership Council, reviewed 15 years of research and 179 studies to answer the question, "How can management build and support a culture of sustainability in their firm?"

The Network for Business Sustainability's Executive Report entitled "Embedding Sustainability in Organizational Culture: A Systematic Review of the Body of Knowledge" presents the most comprehensive and credible evidence to date on how to successfully weave sustainability into the corporate DNA.

What is a Culture of Sustainability?

While there are many different definitions of sustainability, the most frequently cited comes from the World Council on Economic Development, which advocates operating in ways that “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

In practice, business sustainability consists of managing the ‘Triple Bottom Line.’ This includes decision-making that takes into consideration financial, social, and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. It means more than just accounting for environmental and social impacts in corporate reporting. Sustainable businesses are resilient and create economic value, healthy ecosystems, and strong communities. Sustainable businesses survive over the long term because they are intimately connected to healthy economic, social and environmental systems.

A Portfolio Approach to Embedding Sustainability

Summarizes all proven and potential practices for building sustainability into organizational DNA. It identifies a framework for best practices and includes a gap analysis tool for assessing your existing culture and identifying areas of improvement.

The Systematic Review depicts the many ways that you as a manager can embed sustainability into day-to-day operations and strategies at every level of your organization. Each of the four main quadrants is broken into categories of practices, with each category further divided into individual tools for assessing sustainability.

Embedding Wheel2

Designed for executives, senior HR managers, and sustainability managers, this presents a portfolio of practices includes those that the research has shown to be effective, and those that show potential but remain untested. We hope they will give management the tools necessary to incite organizational change towards a more sustainable business future.

Who Should Read The Report

Executives, senior HR managers, and senior sustainability professionals with a vested interest in having sustainability be a moving part of their organization's success.

Additional Resources