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Accelerating environmental responsibility through societal governance

Monica Thiel (School of Business Administration, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, China)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This paper aims to critically reflect on how societal governance can drive environmental responsibility instead of being used as a support mechanism for other domains in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.


There is little discussion in the literature about the individual and social-specific issues and challenges of human and social competition within environmental responsibility. The primary objective of this literature review is to examine how societal governance may decrease environmental responsibility in cross-sector partnerships, especially within the confines of human and social competition.


Society is competing at differing levels and strategies, thereby creating changing social and environmental contexts for firms that can limit firm competitive advantage and environmental responsibility.

Practical implications

Critically reviewing societal governance apart from economic and environmental domains permits reasonably sound inferences about unmeasured social conditions or situations; thus, permitting greater understanding of not only what is happening and where it is happening but also why it is happening.

Social implications

Society is an underplayed actor than currently portrayed in the literature to drive environmental responsibility within human and social competition in cross-sector partnerships.


This review bridges individual and social aspects of governance and competition within and outside of the firm because society is competing in different contexts that can impact private and public sector environmental responsibility performance.



Thiel, M. (2017), "Accelerating environmental responsibility through societal governance", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 96-110.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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