Systems Approach to Corporate Sustainability: A General Management Framework

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    Corporate sustainability is not just a buzzword - for many industry leaders and corporations, it has become an invaluable tool for exploring ways to reduce costs, manage risks, create new products, and drive fundamental internal changes in culture and structure. However, integrating sustainability thinking and practice into organizational structure is not a trivial task and it requires a vision, commitment and leadership. It also requires a systems approach with an appropriate management framework that enables design, management and communication of corporate sustainability policies. This paper proposes a general framework for a Corporate Sustainability Management System (CSMS) which enables translation of the general principles of sustainable development into corporate practice by providing a systematic, step-by-step guidance towards a more sustainable business. Developed in collaboration with industry, it is designed to help improve the triple bottom line through sustainable economic development and environmental protection, while encouraging socially responsible business values. To facilitate an easier integration into the organizational structure, the CSMS follows the familiar models of Total Quality and Environmental Management Systems. While in principle applicable to industry in general, the system is flexible enough to be adapted to the specific needs of individual companies and the contexts in which they operate. Application of the CSMS is illustrated on suitable examples throughout.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-316
    Number of pages13
    JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


    • Corporate social responsibility
    • Corporate sustainability
    • Management systems
    • Sustainability indicators
    • Sustainability reporting
    • Sustainable development


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