University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: As sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of society, not only from a societal and environmental perspective but also, from a corporate one (Nidumolu et al., 2009; Evans et al. 2017), companies are realizing the increasing need of implementing sustainability as a part of their corporate values (Epstein & Rejc Buhovac, 2014) One way of doing this is through actively working in reducing their environmental impact by integrating the 17 sustainability development goals (SDGs), as presented by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, into their value chain. However, working with the SDGs could be seen as ambiguous (Heriksson & Weidman Grundewald, 2020) and thus, companies require tools for integrating sustainability (Evans et al., 2017). This study therefor contributes to the theoretical perspective on how implementations are best made into a corporation through a case study together with a fast-growing scale-up company in the MedTech business to find practical tools for the company to be able to implement sustainability into their value chain. This, led to the research question being conducted as “How could a fast-growing scale-up company manage the challenges and possibilities of strategically implementing sustainability into their value chain?”.Due to the abductive approach of this report, the theoretical framework was first set up to serve as a foundation for the data collection and was then adapted based on themes derived in the data collection. The theoretical focus revolves around how to work with goals related to sustainability and the SDGs, how to communicate the efforts, implementing sustainability into a value chain, as well as steps going forward. The empirical data, as well as the analysis is formulated around the same structure. The data collection was done through a qualitative approach by conducting 21 semi-structured internal interviews, to better align the findings with the company structure. The outside perspective was instead offered by the theoretical framework. What the study concluded was that the company could utilize the company culture for working with sustainability and that they are successful in working with SDG 3 - good health and well-being but that the internal perspective could improve somewhat. As for the SDG 12 – responsible production and consumption, it could be integrated into the value chain, but there is a need to review processes within each department. Further, there is a need for improved communication, both internally and externally, regarding sustainability, to successfully manage it. The communication should be done by a sustainability manager, who is also responsible for a focus group within the company. In addition, all departments, or parts of the value chain, should be responsible for working with sustainability.

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