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Article

Maria Lai‐Ling Lam

This paper aims to explore possible internal and external challenges of foreign multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developed countries to develop sustainable

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore possible internal and external challenges of foreign multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developed countries to develop sustainable environmental development programs in China.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on the author's five years' field work (2006‐2010) in China. A total of 30 Chinese executives from 20 different foreign MNEs were interviewed about their companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

Findings

The focus of 19 companies' environmental programs (95 percent) is internal production and operation efficiency. Only one of 20 companies is committed to increasing the capacity of local Chinese suppliers to comply with the environmental code of conducts listed in their CSR programs and to enable the entire global supply chain to fulfill the international environment standards. The key challenges for foreign companies not to have “holistic and integrated” approaches in their environmental programs are many: keen price competition among Chinese suppliers that are at the low end of global supply chains, some local governments prefer to have economic growth at the expense of environmental welfare, some companies prefer to pay an environmental fee for polluting the local environment as the fee is not high enough to reflect the cost, and the message given by CSR managers to Chinese suppliers are not implemented by their companies' purchasers.

Originality/value

This paper is the first attempt to examine how foreign MNEs balance their CSR requirements internally while managing the performance of their Chinese suppliers to be up to the CSR standards in the global supply chain.

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Article

Per Christensen, Mikkel Thrane, Tine Herreborg Jørgensen and Martin Lehmann

This article aims to discuss the contradiction between signing an agreement to work for sustainable universities and the lack of practical commitment in one case, namely…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to discuss the contradiction between signing an agreement to work for sustainable universities and the lack of practical commitment in one case, namely at Aalborg University (AAU). Focus is placed both on the University's core processes such as education, research and outreach; on the necessary inputs and outputs related to transport, food and operation, and maintenance of buildings, and on the university's products counting published results of research and educated students and researchers.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a desk study of official university documents from the period 1990 to 2007, and a number of student reports that have focused on the sustainability or environmental merits of the University.

Findings

Although adopting an environmental policy and signing the Copernicus Charter back in the early 1990s, AAU soon lost momentum. This was due to reasons defined as: the lack of commitment from top management, the missing acceptance from technical staff, and a narrow understanding of the university's environmental impacts. Obviously, a model of the environmental impacts should not only take into account the environmental impacts related to the impacts occurring in the present, e.g. related to the running and maintenance of buildings and laboratories, but also integrate considerations about the impacts in the processes (education, research and outreach). Thereby, the model shall provide the basis for more sustainable products, such as students considering aspects of sustainability in the solutions and approaches they apply in their future careers.

Research limitations/implications

This article forms the basis for future research identifying how universities can contribute to sustainable development in a more coherent way by implementing new policies and plans. The article takes its starting point in a general model of a university's environmental impacts involving key processes at the university, the related inputs and outputs (emissions), and the transformation of intermediate products such as high school students and existing research results into products such as graduate students, PhDs, and new research results.

Practical implications

The processes and the related inputs, outputs, intermediate products, and end‐products are analysed and discussed in order to illustrate the relevant environmental issues that need to be addressed by universities.

Originality/value

The paper identifies a number of key issues of sustainability that universities need to address and offers inspiration to staff and students on how to push these agendas at their home universities.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article

Seleshi Sisaye

The purpose of this paper is to trace the impact that the ecological approach has in international development programs in both the USA and Europe. It discusses the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to trace the impact that the ecological approach has in international development programs in both the USA and Europe. It discusses the applications of sustainability by international donor agencies among bilateral and multi‐lateral organizations in developing economies. It outlines the influence of sustainability in the US Federal Government agencies to protect and maintain environmentally‐based development programs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares industrial ecology and ecological anthropology approaches to sustainability development. It discusses their policy implications for international development assistance programs. It describes how anthropological and sociological approaches to sustainability have impacted the development policies and programs of bilateral and multilateral organizations, as well as those of multi‐national corporations.

Findings

There are common sustainability trends among the four competing donor organizations in approaching sustainability development by bilateral and multilateral international development organizations. These organizations – the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, the United Nations and its affiliated Organizations, and the US Federal government agencies, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency – have shaped and influenced the policies and programs of sustainability development in business organizations and in developing economies.

Originality/value

Sustainability has been a subject of interest in international development assistance programs in both bilateral and multilateral organizations since the 1970s. Over time, the subject of sustainability received prominence in the developed world. It can be argued that sustainability has its roots in the developing economy and has been adapted/modified to meet the environmental and natural resources conservation and management policies of the developed economies.

Details

World Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5961

Keywords

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Article

Mandar Dabhilkar, Lars Bengtsson and Nicolette Lakemond

The purpose of this paper is to use the relative power and total interdependence concepts as an intervening theoretical lens to explain why and how sustainable supply…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use the relative power and total interdependence concepts as an intervening theoretical lens to explain why and how sustainable supply management (SSM) initiatives by manufacturing firms differ across the Kraljic matrix according to purchasing capability.

Design/methodology/approach

Tested hypotheses by subjecting survey data from 338 manufacturers on buyer-supplier relationships in Europe and North America to regression analysis.

Findings

Shows three situations where relative power and total interdependence determine the effectiveness of purchasing capabilities. First, sustainability programs impact supplier compliance in all Kraljic categories but bottleneck items. Second, there are significant trade-offs between lower cost and higher social and environmental supplier compliance for noncritical components. Third, strategic alignment of sustainability objectives between corporate and supply function levels only leads to improved financial performance for strategic components.

Research limitations/implications

Further research could take power and dependence into account to explain when and how purchasing capabilities focussed on sustainability can be achieved.

Practical implications

Shows how supply strategists could devise-tailored approaches for different purchasing categories with respect to power and dependence when pursuing economic, social and environmental objectives in combination – the triple bottom line – along their supply chains.

Originality/value

Illustrates and provides a theoretical explanation for why SSM is a purchasing capability that must vary across purchasing categories defined by different situations of power and dependence.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 36 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article

Margien Bootsma and Walter Vermeulen

The purpose of this paper is to explore the labor market position of environmental science graduates and the core competencies of these environmental professionals related…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the labor market position of environmental science graduates and the core competencies of these environmental professionals related to their working practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors carried out two surveys amongst alumni of the integrated environmental science program of Utrecht University and their employers. The surveys addressed alumni's working experiences and employers' assessment of the core competencies of environmental science graduates.

Findings

The surveys indicated that environmental science graduates have a fairly strong position on the labor market. They are employed in a diverse range of functions and working sectors, including consultancy agencies, research institutions, governmental organizations and NGOs. Graduates as well as employers consider a number of generic academic skills (e.g. intellectual qualities, communication skills) as well as discipline specific professional knowledge and practical skills as important competencies for the working practice of environmental scientists.

Practical implications

These insights can be used for the improvement of environmental science curricula in order to increase the employability of their graduates.

Originality/value

This paper presents data on the labor market position of graduates of “integrated” environmental science programs and provides insights into the core competencies of these graduates.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article

Banjo Roxas and Doren Chadee

This study aims to challenge the conventional view that resources determine the extent of the environmental sustainability orientation (ESO) of small firms in a developing…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to challenge the conventional view that resources determine the extent of the environmental sustainability orientation (ESO) of small firms in a developing Southeast Asian country context. First, this study attempts to develop a measurement model of ESO of small firms in the manufacturing sector in the Philippines. Second, the study explores the impact of the financial resources on the ESO of firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses survey data from 166 small manufacturing firms in three Philippine cities. Multiple regression modelling is used to estimate the relationships between firm resources and ESO.

Findings

The results indicate that ESO is a multi‐dimensional construct with three facets – i.e. awareness of, actions for, and appreciation of environmental sustainability. The empirical evidence does not support the conventional firm resources‐ESO proposition.

Research limitations/implications

A proactive ESO is not necessarily beyond the reach of resource‐constrained small firms. The generalisability of the findings, however, is limited to small manufacturing firms in The Philippines.

Practical implications

This study informs owner‐managers of small firms that a proactive ESO does not largely depend on financial resources. Government policies and programs to encourage small firms to become sustainable should focus not just on financial forms of assistance.

Originality/value

To date, this is the only Philippines‐based study and one of the scarce small firm‐focused studies that examine the proposition that small firms are unable to pursue a proactive ESO due to resource constraints.

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Article

M. Shah Alam Khan

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster‐prone countries in the world. Natural disasters adversely affect the country's economy and deter its development. Thus preparedness…

Abstract

Purpose

Bangladesh is one of the most disaster‐prone countries in the world. Natural disasters adversely affect the country's economy and deter its development. Thus preparedness for the disasters, along with effective prevention and mitigation measures, is imperative for sustainable development of the country. The purpose of this paper is to examine the present state of disaster preparedness in the country with special attention to the more frequent and damaging disasters – flood and cyclone.

Design/methodology/approach

A detailed study of the effects of natural disasters, disaster prevention and mitigation measures, and institutional setting for disaster preparedness was undertaken.

Findings

Plans and programs have been formulated to manage natural disasters. In a “Cyclone Preparedness Program”, trained volunteers facilitate emergency response and proper use of the multi‐purpose shelters. Within an institutional framework for disaster management, several Non‐Government Organizations (NGOs) work for disaster preparedness alongside the government organizations. Their formal and nonformal education programs on disaster preparedness have a common objective of promoting resilient and sustainable communities.

Practical implications

Planning and design of structural interventions for prevention and mitigation of natural disasters should be done more carefully to avoid adverse impacts on the environment. A participatory approach is essential in this process. Education and awareness‐building programs need wider and easier access to the people.

Originality/value

The paper concludes that the institutional arrangement for cyclone preparedness and response is unique and efficient, and that participation of NGOs in the preparedness program contributes significantly toward sustainable development. These lessons will be important for development planning in other sectors.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

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Article

Mehran Nejati, Azlan Amran and Noor Hazlina Ahmad

Given the uprising interest in the environmental responsibility issues among small businesses, the purpose of this paper is to design to probe into the relationship…

Abstract

Purpose

Given the uprising interest in the environmental responsibility issues among small businesses, the purpose of this paper is to design to probe into the relationship between stakeholders’ influence and environmental responsibility of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), and its consequent outcomes in an emerging economy.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 110 MSME owners participated in this study. Data were collected by means of questionnaire designed to measure the 12 constructs of focus. In order to test the hypotheses and examine the relationships proposed in the research framework, structural equation modelling was performed using SmartPLS.

Findings

This study revealed that among the primary stakeholders, only employees and customers significantly influenced environmental responsibility practices of MSMEs. Besides, it was found that environmental responsibility results in financial improvements and better relations with employees and customers.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to MSMEs in Malaysia. Despite the relatively low response rate, which is common in MSME research, the geographic and sector distribution of samples provides a basis for generalizability of the results.

Practical implications

Since many MSME owners/managers are sceptical about the benefits of environmental practices, the findings of this study provided empirical support from an emerging economy about the positive outcomes of environmental practices.

Social implications

By examining the key determinants that foster environmental practices in MSMEs, the current study provides important insights for policy makers to encourage MSMEs to initiate such responsible practices, which can lead to environmental preservation.

Originality/value

Other than enriching a systems-based view of firms’ environmental behaviour, this study empirically tests a research framework on role of stakeholders in determining environmental responsibility of small firms and their outcomes on firms’ performance.

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Article

S.A. Bekessy, K. Samson and R.E. Clarkson

This paper aims to assess the impact and value of non‐binding agreements or declarations in achieving sustainability in universities.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess the impact and value of non‐binding agreements or declarations in achieving sustainability in universities.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University is presented, analysing the reasons for lack of progress towards sustainability and evaluating best ways forward. Using a timeline and analysis of historical records for the 12 years since RMIT first engaged in the sustainability agenda, major trends in the process of implementing policies are identified. Secondly, 15 semi‐structured interviews with university leaders and key sustainability stakeholders from across the university are analysed to provide insight into how and why the university has failed to achieve sustainability.

Findings

New implications for successfully achieving sustainability arise from these findings. Accountability is a key issue, as RMIT appears to reap benefits from being signatory to declarations without achieving genuine progress. To ensure that declarations are more than simply greenwash, universities must open themselves up to scrutiny of progress to determine whether commitments have been honoured.

Practical implications

Relying on small‐scale “club” activities establishing demonstrations and raising awareness is unlikely to lead to permanent change. The evidence of RMIT's engagement with sustainability shows that, for example, even when successful pilot studies are conducted, these initiatives may do little to affect the mainstream practices of a university unless certain conditions exist. Furthermore, given the on‐paper commitments institutions have made, and the role of the university in society, small‐scale and gradual changes in university practice are a far from adequate response to the urgent sustainability imperative.

Originality/value

The initial engagement of RMIT University with the sustainability agenda 12 years ago marked it as a world leader in sustainability best‐practice. Analysing how and why such a disappointing lack of action has resulted from such promising beginnings provides insight into future directions for implementing sustainability in universities. The paper argues that considering the key responsibility of universities in leading the sustainability agenda, a more systemic and serious response is required.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Article

Yu Gong, Fu Jia, Steve Brown and Lenny Koh

The purpose of this paper is to explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) orchestrate internal and external resources to help their multi-tier supply chains learn…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how multinational corporations (MNCs) orchestrate internal and external resources to help their multi-tier supply chains learn sustainability-related knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory multiple case study approach was adopted and three MNCs’ sustainable initiatives in China were examined. The data were primarily collected through 43 semi-structured interviews with managers of focal companies and their multi-tier suppliers.

Findings

The authors found that in order to facilitate their supply chains to learn sustainability, MNCs tend to orchestrate in breadth by internally setting up new functional departments and externally working with third parties, and orchestrate in depth working directly with their extreme upstream suppliers adopting varied governance mechanisms on lower-tier suppliers along the project lifecycle. The resource orchestration in breadth and depth and along the project lifecycle results in changes of supply chain structure.

Practical implications

The proposed conceptual model provides an overall framework for companies to design and implement their multi-tier sustainable initiatives. Companies could learn from the suggested learning stages and the best practices of case companies.

Originality/value

The authors extend and enrich resource orchestration perspective (ROP), which is internally focused, to a supply chain level, and answer a theoretical question of how MNCs orchestrate their internal and external resources to help their supply chains to learn sustainability. The extension of ROP refutes the resource dependence theory, which adopts a passive approach of relying on external suppliers and proposes that MNCs should proactively work with internal and external stakeholders to learn sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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