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Toward Better Understanding of the Corporate Sustainability Concept

Challenges on the Path Toward Sustainability in Europe

ISBN: 978-1-80043-973-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-972-6

Publication date: 4 December 2020


This chapter discusses the evolvement of the sustainability concept and its importance in the strategic management context. First, the authors review the development of the concept over the last century and presents the most commonly used sustainability definitions. Then, the three pillars of sustainability (economic, natural and social) are reviewed, highlighting the sustainability aspect of each pillar individually and the problems of their non-substitutability, irreversibility and non-linearity. Based on the literature review, this chapter discusses the main motives for integration of sustainability concept into the overall strategy of the company, namely compliance with regulation, response to public concern, expected competitive advantage and top management commitment. Furthermore, important distinctions between reactive and proactive approaches are presented, and the results and benefits (such as cost reductions, differentiation and added value) of proactive approaches to corporate sustainability are analyzed. Nevertheless, such benefits can only be achieved if corporate sustainability is understood and treated as a holistic concept, which is deeply embedded in the company’s strategy and is approached proactively from the interdisciplinary viewpoint, looking at all three dimensions simultaneously.



Čater, T. and Fux, P. (2020), "Toward Better Understanding of the Corporate Sustainability Concept", Žabkar, V. and Redek, T. (Ed.) Challenges on the Path Toward Sustainability in Europe, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 81-99.



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