The purpose of this paper is to explore historical paths of successful companies’ sustainability commitment, discover internal and external forces that shaped today’s sustainability leaders and show how companies implemented efforts toward sustainability to respond to those circumstances. It offers an in-depth understanding of sustainability-related strategies implemented by highly sustainable companies and serves as encouraging cases for other companies willing to engage in sustainability.
This research took a case-study approach to help build a new theory toward sustainability development and approaches. A content analysis and review of both companies’ annual financial reports and corporate sustainability reports, between 1995 and 2012, and relevant news articles was performed.
Data analysis showed that companies initiated and executed various strategies sustainability in their business, which evolved into themes for their stages of growth. Findings showed that: different companies approached sustainability differently based on their varied experiences; companies’ past and present efforts help to understand their business strategies and commitments more as a holistic process. Companies were affected by external circumstances, such as rewarding partnerships, ranking indices and media criticism for their working conditions, in response to which both the companies designed and implemented their own sustainability approaches.
This study explored a longitudinal analysis of leader companies’ historical sustainability practices. It focused on how two different companies approached sustainability differently based on their varied experiences, thus showing that sustainability can be a source of competitive advantage for companies.
Goswami, S. and Ha-Brookshire, J. (2015), "From compliance to a growth strategy: Exploring historical transformation of corporate sustainability", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 246-261. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGR-04-2015-0005Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited