Embedded Corporate Sustainability as a Driver for Competitiveness

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract:

Sustainability is increasingly requested by society due to rising global issues. However the majority of companies, particularly the large and hierarchical ones, face huge challenges in properly integrating sustainability in their business, and most importantly - in understanding the opportunities sustainability offers both for their competitiveness and shared value creation. The purpose of the thesis is to holistically define and explain the major aspects that are critical for win-win corporate sustainability (CS) embedding into large established companies.

Firstly, a framework of CS embedding has been developed which is supported by a simple CS three-stage model to be used in assessing the CS integration stages and processes in a company. The framework in particular focuses on three major CS aspects: strategic and operational integration, innovation, and organisational culture. Secondly, the created model is applied in the case study of the large power company Vattenfall AB in order to assess its overall CS implementation situation, the challenges it faces and the stage of CS practices.

The analysis resulted in structured findings and a list of major strategic recommendations to advice the company on CS advancement. The outcomes of the study can be applied as learning material in other large conservative companies of similar complexity that struggle with sustainability performance. The research has contributed in filling the knowledge gap of understanding how CS embedding works, its major aspects, challenges and opportunities it provides. The framework developed for embedding CS when used in conjunction with the CS three-stage model could be used for further empirical research or alternatively for practical application by companies themselves.

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