Call for Proposals: An Examination of CEO Decision-Making for Sustainability

Call for Proposals: CEO Decision-Making for Sustainability

A Call for Proposals for an Examination of CEO Decision-Making for Sustainability

NBS November 26, 2014
The Network for Business Sustainability South Africa invites proposals for a research project that will be completed in 2015. The project will answer the following question: 

Why do some CEOs make the shift toward incorporating sustainability into strategy (and what holds others back)?

This question was identified by NBS-SA's Leadership Council as one of the top sustainability challenges facing South African business. Read more about the report.

Project Description

Research has emphasised the role of leadership in enabling or inhibiting the integration of sustainability principles into business objectives and activities. CEOs specifically play an important role in setting an organisation’s vision and they carry a tremendous responsibility for its success. Companies making real and transformative progress towards realising sustainable strategies are often differentiated by CEOs who genuinely ‘get’ the importance of sustainable development.

A sustainable corporate strategy is one that has integrated principles of sustainability into the core business strategy of the organization. These principles include a longer-term and wider outlook on value creation as well as the acknowledgement of ecological limits and a commitment to social advance. Firms that recognize that sustainability is core to business strategy, rather than an add-on, are more likely to anticipate and innovate around future change.

This project examines why CEO’s make the shift towards sustainable corporate strategies. Changes in mind-set such as this can be facilitated by a number of factors, or be hindered by internal or external challenges facing the company or individual. As such, research into this question may touch on leadership skills or styles, decision-making processes or value systems. Organisational aspects, such as change management processes, incentive structures, or influential peer groups, may also prove important.

These related questions may help research teams scope their potential project however, some questions may not be possible to answer with existing knowledge. The final project scope will be refined and finalised through discussion between the successful research team and the Guidance Committee.


Funding for the project is 280,000 South African Rand (ZAR) or approximately $25,000.


Proposals are due January 7, 2015. For more information view the full Call for Proposals (PDF).

Related Resources

Systematic Review

This report outlines the influences on CEO decision-making for sustainability and identifies actions for change agents to support their CEOs.

Executive Report

Leverage the CEO's position – at the interface between the external environment and the internal hierarchy of their companies – to drive sustainability.


What helps shift CEO decision-making around sustainability? How can corporate change agents support this process? Read this primer to find out. 

Executive Report

This report is designed to help business leaders, managers, and policy-makers improve their decision-making process to reach more sustainable outcomes.