Sustainability Strategies as Indicators for Corporate Success

In the context of the GOLDEN Observatory P. Snoeren and M. Zollo are currently investigating what factors distinguish organizations capable of both high social/environmental sustainability performance and short-term economic performance from those who are not. From the analysis of 10,022 sustainability initiatives carried out by large companies operating in the electric utility sector, evidence has been found that firms that excel in short term financial and in environmental and social performance do not only exert higher efforts in terms of the number of sustainability actions, but also target different stakeholder groups and different societal issues.

In addition, and most importantly, firms that do well on both accounts are also more likely to undertake initiatives oriented to internal operating change, rather than externally oriented stakeholder management. When subdividing internal change into initiatives aimed toward adapting current processes and those aimed toward adding new products, the data shows that companies capable of both short-term financial performance and long-term sustainability performance emphasize the adaptation of current processes to integrate sustainability vis-à-vis new sustainable product development.

For more information on this project please contact Maurizio Zollo or Peter Snoeren.

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