A process directed towards sustainable business operations and a model for improving the GWP‐footprint (CO2e) on Earth

Göran Svensson (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)
Beverly Wagner (Strathclyde Graduate Business School, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Publication date: 14 June 2011



The purpose of this paper is to describe: a process to achieve sustainable business operations; and a sustainable business model of Global Warming Potential (GWP) footprint on Earth, GWP being the measure of how much a given amount of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the effect of a given gas (e.g. methane or nitrous oxide) with that of the same amount of carbon dioxide.


A Swedish fast food chain selling hamburger meals is examined in a case study. Data were collected from available corporate internal and external documentation, by site observations as well as from non‐structured interviews with top managers and company employees.


The company's efforts to accomplish its target of “zero mission” GWP‐footprint (CO2e) on Earth consist of both an iterative and continuous process and business model. Both underpin the corporate notion and desire to reduce fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.

Research limitations/implications

The findings stress the importance of addressing corporate GWP‐footprints (CO2e) from a business perspective, rather than relying on political or governmental legislation and regulation. It also opens opportunities for further research.

Practical implications

The case shows the possibility of implementing successful sustainable operations and sustainable business models in national “for‐profit” organisations without governmental subsidies in a highly competitive market, dominated by powerful multinational fast food chains.

Social implications

Changing consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns, as well as governmental intervention imposed at top political levels worldwide, will most likely increase the necessity for companies to create sustainable business models linked to GWP‐footprint (CO2e).


The principal contribution based on the presented case study is an illustration of how one can achieve sustainable business operations and create a sustainable business model in an industry that often has been heavily criticised in the past for harming the natural environment. It also shows how to create awareness of the GWP‐footprint (CO2e) of a company's products so that in turn customers may be able to make conscious and deliberate product choices.



Svensson, G. and Wagner, B. (2011), "A process directed towards sustainable business operations and a model for improving the GWP‐footprint (CO2e) on Earth", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 451-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777831111136063

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