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Key corporate sustainability drivers: engaged boards and partnerships

Gayle C. Avery (Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Australia)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 18 May 2015




This article reports on a whitepaper showing the key success factors involved in driving corporate sustainability, and illustrates them using mini-case studies.


Results from a 2015 whitepaper published by Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review in association with the United Nations Global Compact are discussed. The findings are based on interviews conducted globally with 2,587 business managers, experts and practitioners. Best practice examples are provided of what three leading corporations are doing to achieve their sustainability strategies.


Two key drivers of corporate sustainability emerged. First, successful corporate sustainability involves collaborations with a range of other organizations. Essentially, the more partners in a particular project, the more successful the initiative is judged to be. Second, boards drive successful corporate sustainability where directors are interested in setting the sustainability strategy, its implementation and the outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The findings open many research questions and hypotheses to sustainability researchers and academics.

Practical implications

Guidance is provided for senior executives seeking to improve and/or increase corporate sustainability initiatives, namely, to collaborate with other parties and engage the board.

Social implications

The planet and its inhabitants will benefit if obstacles to successfully tackling wicked problems such as hunger, poverty and the effects of climate change can be reduced using the power of collaborations between business, government, NGOs, and academe.


This paper provides insight into the perceived current state, obstacles and drivers of corporate sustainability, along with examples of successful approaches.



Avery, G.C. (2015), "Key corporate sustainability drivers: engaged boards and partnerships", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 44-48.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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