A selection of interesting research and articles we found recently on sustainability practices.

Are Triple Bottom Line firms going over old or breaking new ground?
Ante Glavas and Jenny Mish investigation this question. Supported by a qualitative study of triple bottom line (TBL) firms—those that simultaneously prioritize economic, social, and environmental objectives—they investigated the market logic and practices of TBL firms to better understand how they fulfill their mission and achieve their goals. The authors explored if and how TBL firms may differ in their approach to stakeholders and the management of their resources, including dynamic capabilities. They employed a research design that emphasizes the iterative comparison of narrative data within themselves and with scholarly literature

[i.e., resource-based view (RBV)] to develop new theoretical insights. Because the RBV is commonly used to theorize how firms achieve competitive advantage, the researchers explored whether TBL firms achieve competitive advantage differently from what RBV theory would predict.

The data suggest that how a firm defines value has a significant influence on the capabilities it creates and how it treats its resources. TBL firms redefine value to not only focus on the end product or service but also to include the systemic cost of delivering goods. As a result, TBL firms differ from prevailing scholarly thought in RBV. They strive to have resources that are sustainable and therefore imitable, commonly found, and substitutable. Moreover, they are not only transparent in their processes but also collaborate with others in the value chain and in their sector. In doing so, they deliberately create new markets from which other firms can benefit. Rather than focusing on competitive advantage, TBL firms focus on collaborative advantage.

More details are available in: Ante Glavas and Jenny Mish. 2015. Resources and Capabilities of Triple Bottom Line Firms: Going Over Old or Breaking New Ground?
Journal of Business Ethics, 127(3), 623-642.


A multidimensional corporate stakeholder responsibility scale
Recent research on the microfoundations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has highlighted the need for improved measures to evaluate how stakeholders perceive and subsequently react to CSR initiatives. Drawing on stakeholder theory and data from five samples of employees (N = 3,772), Assâad El Akremi and his team developed and validated a new measure of corporate stakeholder responsibility (CStR), which refers to an organisation’s context-specific actions and policies designed to enhance the welfare of various stakeholder groups by accounting for the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental performance; it is conceptualized as a superordinate, multidimensional construct.

Results provide strong evidence of various kinds of validities of the proposed CStR scale. Two-wave longitudinal studies further extend prior theory by demonstrating that the higher-order CStR construct relates positively and directly to organisational pride and perceived organisational support, as well as positively and indirectly to organisational identification, job satisfaction, and affective commitment, beyond the contribution of overall organisational justice, ethical climate, and prior measures of perceived CSR.

Read further in Assâad El Akremi, Jean-Pascal Gond, Valérie Swaen, Kenneth De Roeck, and Jacques Igalens. 2015. How Do Employees Perceive Corporate Responsibility? Development and Validation of a Multidimensional Corporate Stakeholder Responsibility Scale.
Journal of Management, January 29, 2015 0149206315569311.


Evaluation of sustainability practices in large US corporations
Anaam Hashmi, Amal Damanhouri and Divya Rana surveyed the sustainability practices of large U.S. corporations in their domestic and international operations. Large U.S. corporations were slow to address global environmental challenges, but a majority of them now demonstrate a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Most large U.S. corporations are proactively involved in sustainability and environmentally friendly measures, and their involvement at home is more intense than abroad.

Analyses revealed that U.S. corporations engage in eight activities related to sustainability: investing in energy-efficient methods, generating electricity from solar power, generating electricity from wind power, using biofuels, trading carbon credits, supporting environmental organisations, generating electricity from biomass, and generating electricity from hydropower. Of these, only generating electricity from biomass and hydropower were not significantly different with respect to U.S. corporations’ foreign and domestic implementation. This paper represents the first attempt to determine whether and how U.S. corporations’ efforts to promote sustainability differ with respect to their operational locus (domestic or overseas).

For more details, see: M. Anaam Hashmi, Amal Damanhouri and Divya Rana. 2015. Evaluation of Sustainability Practices in the United States and Large Corporations.
Journal of Business Ethics, 127(3), 673-681.


Do individual attitudes impact environmentally friendly workplace behaviours?
Yes along with various organisational variables, according to Danae Manika, Victoria Wells, Diana Gregory-Smith and Michael Gentry. Although research on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown steadily, little research has focused on CSR at the individual level. In addition, research on the role of environmental friendly organisational citizenship behaviours (OCBs) within CSR initiatives is scarce. In response to this gap and recent calls for further research on both individual and organisational variables of employees’ environmentally friendly, or green, behaviours, this article sheds light on the influence of these variables on three types of green employee behaviours simultaneously: recycling, energy savings, and printing reduction. An initial theoretical model identifies both individual (employees’ general environmentally friendly attitudes and the importance of an organisation’s environmentally friendly reputation to the employee) and organisational (perceived environmental behaviour of an organisation and perceived incentives and support from an organisation) variables that affect different types of green behaviours as a stepping stone for further research.

The results reveal managerial implications and future research directions on the design of effective social marketing interventions that motivate different types of OCBs in the workplace. In particular, the results suggest that creating separate interventions for each type of environmental behaviour, as well as for each organisation, sector, and type of organisation (public vs. private), is necessary. In addition, this research illustrates patterns of attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours by exploring individual and organisational variables and behaviours across seven different organisations belonging to different sectors.

Read further in: Danae Manika, Victoria K. Wells, Diana Gregory-Smith and Michael Gentry. 2015. The Impact of Individual Attitudinal and Organisational Variables on Workplace Environmentally Friendly Behaviours.
Journal of Business Ethics, 126(4), 663-684.


Developing a sustainability credit score system
Within the banking community, the argument about sustainability and profitability tends to be inversely related. Research by Rodrigo Zeidan and his colleagues suggests this does not need to be strictly the case. The authors present a credit score system based on sustainability issues, which is used as criteria to improve financial institutions’ lending policies. The Sustainability Credit Score System (SCSS) is based on the analytic hierarchy process methodology. Its first implementation is on the agricultural industry in Brazil. Three different firm development paths are identified: business as usual, sustainable business, and future sustainable business. The following six dimensions are present in the SCSS: economic growth, environmental protection, social progress, socio-economic development, eco-efficiency, and socio-environmental development.

The results suggest that sustainability is not inversely related to profit either from a short- or long-term perspective. The SCSS is related to the Equator Principles, but its application is not driven to project financing. It also deals with short- and long-term risks and opportunities, instead of short-term sustainability impacts.

For more information, see: Rodrigo Zeidan, Claudio Boechat and Angela Fleury. 2015. Developing a Sustainability Credit Score System.
Journal of Business Ethics, 127(2), 283-296.