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Business as environmental steward: the growth of greening

Eric G. Olson (Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, Downey, California, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 4 September 2009




Business initiatives that improve environmental impact are increasing in number and the trend continues to accelerate. However, there is a growing consensus that transformations to protect the environment and conserve natural resources should be more pervasive and much larger steps than those already being taken are needed. Among the difficult challenges that business leaders and practitioners face today is to understand the driving forces that encourage environmental sustainability in the context of their own operation. This work articulates the key drivers of “green” activities that support environmental stewardship, and their relevance to business management.


Environmental stewardship is positioned as a growth area, business leaders are already taking action to apply environmental sustainability principles, and each key driver of environmental stewardship is discussed separately. A rationale for each driver is provided, business management implications are articulated, and real world cases for what businesses are actually doing in the marketplace are described.


This work defines the drivers of environmental stewardship for business leaders, and connects those drivers directly to management implications and real world, actual cases of business activity. With this approach and framework, businesses can easily use the same approach to identify which drivers they are responding to, and which others may have gaps that represent a competitive risk if no action is taken.


Business leaders and practitioners can use insights provided in this work to better understand the driving forces behind environmental improvement actions, and better align their own initiatives to achieve higher business value and environmental stewardship. Without understanding the driving forces behind their actions, businesses are likely to sub‐optimize their transformation initiatives and fail to realize the expected value.



Olson, E.G. (2009), "Business as environmental steward: the growth of greening", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 4-13.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Company

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