The Equal Pillars of Sustainability: Volume 17

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Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Although it is well known that Brundtland states that there are three pillars of sustainable development and that they should be regarded as of equal importance it is argued that they have not been treated as equal with one pillar always predominating. This chapter re-examines the situation and arrives at a definition of sustainability which the authors argue is workable. They do so by redefining the pillars of sustainability and taking into account the combination of factors along with such issues as risk and uncertainty. This chapter therefore provides an introduction to the topic of the book and serves as a precursor to the ensuing chapters.

Part 1 The Pillars and Sustainability


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not new in the industrial society, as every corporation has embedded the philosophy of doing good and doing well in its business ethics for different motives. Literature established that CSR policies, theories and practices differ across countries, cultures and civilisations. The globalisation wave forced on global corporations a unified understanding of theories and practice of CSR from the perspective of developed countries of America and Britain. Britain's exit from the European Union and America's egocentric national policies launched by President Donald Trump are evidence of an increased leaning toward isolationism, and strong cases of anti-globalisation have been established by these nations. The purpose of this theoretical research is to investigate within the raging Globalisation and Anti-Globalisation debates, the key factors that motivate corporations from different contexts to initiate CSR programmes and the focus of programmes. This research adopts a qualitative research method, leveraging previous scholarly works, working papers, case studies and relevant internet resources. Insightful information from afore-mentioned sources were critically discussed from which useful findings were derived to support the subject of inquiry (factors that motivate CSR programmes and focus of programmes). It was found that similar factors motivate corporations with globalisation and isolation mindsets to embrace CSR programmes, but the focus of CSR programs of corporations differ, yet the programmes oscillate around economic, social and environmental dimensions of CSR. The gap left by the chapter is for future researchers to carry out an empirical investigation on the research.


Sustainability has become an ever-increasing issue in today's world. Countries across the world have had to refocus on sustainability due to the new pressures of climate change. In recent decades, numerous different institutions have become the architectural framework for the promotion and implementation of sustainability in society, namely: governments, non-government organizations, universities, social enterprises, and the private sector. One of the key drivers of sustainability is social enterprise education. This driver has become vital in higher education, as it enables the learner to understand the complex processes of sustainability. This chapter critically explores the interlocking relationship of social enterprise and sustainability. The authors of this chapter present findings from their UKIERI research project entitled “The Benefits of Modifying Social Enterprise within Higher Education's Social Sciences Curriculum.” Moreover, the authors argue that social enterprise can have a real influence in the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were set out by the United Nations in 2015.


The latest financial crisis marks a milestone in the development of financial markets. It was a period when it was possible to observe a booming development in the stock markets.

Faced with such a phenomenon, theorists have agreed on the need to resume the debate on the validity of the predictability of stock market returns, which is considered to be the cornerstone of all financial theories. The purpose of this article is to examine the predictability of the bearish stock market using a number of variables widely used in forecasting stock returns. In particular, we focus on variables related to imperfect credit markets.

We revisit the predictability of the bearish market using variables that measure the External Funding Premium (EFP), such as the Default Yield Spread.As the EFP is the key indicator of the extent of credit market imperfections, it should therefore be linked to stock market dynamics and provide useful predictive content.


This chapter is concerned with the social pillar of sustainability and how management education can assist in ensuring the equity among people that is necessary to achieve sustainability. The chapter considers how a sense of responsibility towards ensuring equity and fairness is derived and the sources of this. It argues that early education teaches aspects of fairness, but at a higher education level, further education is a working context continues to be necessary but is very often absent. It is at this stage that the educators in management have a role and responsibility. Unfortunately in a work context, people tend to be considered merely as operands within a production process and not as real people, and thus considerations of fairness and concern tend to be eliminated, with a tendency towards exploitation. This of course is not sustainable, and the chapter argues that at the higher education level this can be addressed with noticeable effect.

Part 2 The Pillars and Governance


Considering in one side, the differences between the non-profits and profits entities and, in other side, given the importance of governance to monitoring the protection of the interests of the different stakeholders, this literature review aims to identify the special features of the social economy entities and its effects in the principles and guidelines of an adequate governance model for these entities.

An important conclusion after the analysis of several frameworks is that the latest approaches place less importance on formal aspects such as the governing body roles or composition. Nowadays the concerns are increasingly focused in the best ways to adopt viable strategies and business models that will ensure survival and growth of non-profit entities.

In Portugal we identified the specificities of the Portuguese third sector that is limited to the fulfilment of the legally imposed requirements to these organizations. Regarding governance aspects, Portuguese organizations are not subject to codes of good practice or if they follow them, they are designed for the for-profit sector and do not address the main concerns of the non-profit sector.


The purpose of this study is to determine whether the legislation mandating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles is more effective than regulatory encouragement and voluntary company compliance in Kuwaiti Companies Law. Doctrinal legal research was used to analyse CSR provisions through a legal lens by comparing existing CSR provisions of UK and Indian Companies Law in order to determine a middle-ground approach for Kuwaiti Companies Law, since this research deduced that no such provisions exist in Kuwait. By comparing the Companies Laws of UK, India and Kuwait, a number of CSR provisional areas were explored, such as socioeconomic issues, governance structures, corporate constituencies, directors’ duties, corporate objectives and reporting. The findings show that Kuwait could adopt the models applied to both UK and India, but would gear more towards the Indian model since both countries share similar principles or views on CSR-related issues such as corporate philanthropy, as well as mandatory or prescriptive nature of their respected companies law. Although a potential middle-ground can be established for Kuwait’s legal vision, limitations such as the country’s strict culture and religion could potentially impede the provisions proposed in this thesis. Unless Kuwait changes its stance on cultural and religious issues, such as the gender divide and inequality, the proposed CSR provisions that relate to the religious and cultural norms in Kuwait may not make it into a future Companies Law. This research provides an original outlook on analysing and comparing existing CSR provisions in Companies Law across several contexts and recommends novel CSR provisions for countries that have yet to incorporate CSR provisions in their respective Companies Law.


This article addresses gender imbalances in senior company board decision-making positions and analyses the effects of applying gender quotas in European countries, through comparative and interpretative data analysis.

The results clearly demonstrate that those countries implementing quotas not only return higher levels of female representation on their boards of directors – approximately 40% – but also register higher rates of growth over both countries without quotas and those with quotas but without sanctions. Results furthermore suggest that the success of any quota system deeply depends on its formulated terms, on a country's corporate culture, on social receptivity and, at the micro level, on the sector an organisation belongs to.


This chapter examines the determinants of accountability practices disclosure on the websites of Malaysian local authorities, from the institutional isomorphism perspective.


A content analysis was employed to examine the websites of all local authorities in Malaysia. A modified accountability disclosure index was used to examine the extent of accountability practices disclosure on websites. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the significant impact of institutional factors on the accountability practices disclosure.


The results suggest that, on average, Malaysian local authorities have disclosed 42 items (or 42%) of the accountability practices disclosure on the websites. The implementation of innovation activities, political competition and press visibility has statistically influenced the extent of accountability practices disclosure of Malaysian local authorities on the websites on the premise of coercive isomorphism.

Research limitations/implications

This chapter highlights the institutional factors that influence the extent of online accountability practices disclosure of local authorities in developing countries. The findings therefore enable local authorities to explore the best possible approaches to effectively discharge accountability and to promote greater transparency through the dissemination of information on the website.


This chapter contributes to the public sector accounting literature by introducing new institutional factors that influence the disclosure practice of local authorities in Malaysia i.e. the establishment of the Integrity Unit and implementation of innovation activities under the public sector reform agenda.

Part 3 Experience and Practice


Considering the dearth of industry-specific empirical research exploring sustainability reporting in the context of developing countries, this chapter aims to critically examine the extent and the nature of sustainability information disclosure of environmentally polluting industries in India.


Data are collected from business responsibility reports (BRRs), sustainability reports, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports and integrated reports of all 57 energy and mining companies included in NIFTY500 Index at National Stock Exchange of India for the year 2017–2018 and 2018–2019. Content analysis is used to examine the sustainability disclosure practices and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical analysis is performed to test the difference across various dimensions of sustainability reporting of companies.


The results indicate low environmental reporting of the key indicators by energy and mining companies in India. It is found that state-owned companies have better social reporting practices against private sector companies. The findings also indicate that Global reporting initiative (GRI) based reporting have better sustainability disclosure practices and companies reporting based on BRR lack quantitative information disclosure.


The findings of the present chapter have several implications for policymakers, investors, regulators and management of these high environmental and social impact companies in India. The findings which coincide with the key areas of sustainability disclosure can be used for improving sustainability disclosure practices by the various stakeholders.


This is one of the first studies to investigate the nature and extent of sustainability performance disclosure of the companies from polluting industries in India. This chapter also contributes to the existing sustainability reporting literature by providing evidence on industry-specific disclosure in the context of a developing country.


In recent times the government has emerged as an enabling and empowering facilitator promoting the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by businesses to leverage economic competitiveness and growth. India provides a unique context to explore the mandated role of government in relation to CSR specifically within the context of understanding its effective use to resolve grand challenges which the country is facing at present. Grand challenges are complex social, economic and environmental problems which require innovative and collaborative solutions. In this chapter we explore extant secondary data, related to CSR and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to examine whether mandatory CSR implementation which has been unfolding in India over the last few years has been effective in addressing India's grand challenges. Specifically, it focuses on the role of the Indian government, at the national and state levels, in directing CSR activities towards the SDGs.


The topic of the paper is a description of basic elements of the philosophy of un/natural disasters generally, and specifically basic elements of multiple simultaneous un/natural disasters which is motivated by a series of disasters that hit Croatia all over 2020. The topic is presented in the following way: in the first part, case of Croatia 2020 is described in short; in the second part, elements of the philosophy of un/natural disasters are described; and based on the first and second part in the third part, the possibility of the philosophy of multiple simultaneous un/natural disasters which seem to be applicable to the case of Croatia 2020 is described. Elements of philosophy that are described are ontology, epistemology, a theory of action, and ethics. The purpose of the paper is to research the possibility of clarification of basic philosophical concepts in the context of disasters, namely existence-in, appearance/reality-in, knowledge-of, certainty-in, human action-in, habits-in, and morality and ethics of disasters. Research limitations relate mostly to conceptual-morphological research that hugely relies on facts of the case and on statistical and scientific data on disasters.


This research discusses the financial perspective of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), in general, and identifies the level of dependency and diversification of revenues, in particular. The Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI) was used as an indicator for calculating the concentration of the income for each NGO. The main sources of income reported were donations, government grants, financial income, service provision, sales and other incomes. The sample of case studies analyzed are Centre for Advanced Studies of Social and Environmental Promotion (CASSEP), Federation of Bodies for Social and Educational Assistance (FBSEA), Ecological Research Institute (ERI) and Amazon Environmental Research Institute (AERI). These organizations have been used as case studies (Yin, 2019) because they received resources from the Amazon Fund in Brazil for at least one year during the research period of 2014–2018. The composition of the revenue for this period was analyzed according to the Procedures Manual for the Third Sector published by the Federal Accounting Council of the Brazilian Accounting Foundation (FAC-BAF) and by the Association of Attorneys and Promoters of Justice of Foundations and Organizations of Social Interest from Brazil. These NGOs had low revenue diversification in the research period, so there was a high dependence on resources from international organizations, predominantly from countries in Europe. The joint analysis of the two main revenue sources – government grants and grants – substantially raises the level of dependency. As results of the empirical analysis, it can be seen that CASSEP had the highest revenue collection in the research period. This NGO maintained a high dependence and concentration of resources in all years analyzed, which points to the need of revenue diversification. This research concludes with comments on instances of competition to receive resources between NGO, which lead to an inefficient allocation of resources to all NGO. Also, it discusses the effects of COVID-19 on revenues of the NGO analyzed, as well as the recent corruption scandals in Brazil, but it is only one research that demands more study to be generalized.

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Publication date
Book series
Developments in Corporate Governance and Responsibility
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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