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Über dieses Buch

Although every country is distinguished by its history, culture and language as well as its unique economic, environmental and social conditions, it can be expected that international operating companies will exhibit common patterns since sustainability challenges do not stop at national borders.

Building on original data based on results of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer survey, this book depicts and analyzes the current state of corporate sustainability management and corporate social responsibility.

Part I describe the approach and summarizes the broad results, outlining the methodology and offering an overview of results of the ICSB survey. Part II presents specific findings for each of eleven countries surveyed: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA. Part III provides a comparative analysis and highlights broad patterns in the international results. Most strikingly, the book reveals surprisingly widespread similarities among the sustainability management practices of large companies in economically developed countries all over the world.

All the survey results are analyzed according to the same Triple-I approach: Intention - Why do companies manage sustainability?; Integration - To what extent do companies embed sustainability in their core business and in their organization? And Implementation - How is corporate sustainability operationalized? Based on this structure the analysis serves not only to make comparisons and to investigate national characteristics; it also builds a foundation for examining whether there truly is a world-spanning common state of the art of corporate sustainability. Distinguished authors who were involved in the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer project offer their insights, identifying and discussing national and international patterns that can provide the basis for further ideas and inspiration to practitioners and researchers worldwide who are engaged in corporate sustainability.



Approach and Overall Results


Chapter 1. International Corporate Sustainability Barometer: Introduction and Structure

This chapter briefly summarises the development of the debate on corporate sustainability in academia and practice since the 1960s. Building on this synopsis, the edited volume is positioned within the contemporary discussions on sustainability management.
Furthermore, the chapter introduces the conceptual structure of the book chapters, the ‘Triple I’ approach, which is used to present the findings from each country in a consistent manner. The ‘Triple I’ approach constitutes a comprehensive scheme for analysing corporate sustainability, as it focuses on the companies’ intention to pursue sustainability management (i.e. motivation; issues), the integration of sustainability in the organisation (i.e. connecting sustainability to the core business; involving corporate functions; using drivers of business cases for sustainability) and the actual implementation of sustainability management measures (i.e. stakeholder management; sustainability management tools and standards; measurements).
Likewise, the chapter sets up a framework for comparing the international results, which allows positioning each country within the international context.
Lastly, the reader is provided with an overview of the edited volumes chapters and their key contributions.
Dorli Harms, Jacob Hörisch, Stefan Schaltegger, Sarah Elena Windolph

Chapter 2. International Corporate Sustainability Barometer: Purpose and Approach

In a first step, this chapter provides a brief review of the existing literature on the international state of the art of sustainability management. The review reveals that while a large body of studies already exists, most publications deal with single nations or bilateral comparisons. Among the truly international studies, a lack of comparative quantitative inquiries on a country-specific level is identified.
In a second step, the edited volume’s methodological approach to address this research gap is outlined. Unlike prior studies on sustainability management, the ICSB builds on a comprehensive survey among sustainability managers in large companies and is not restricted to single aspects of sustainability management. This chapter describes the process of data collection and provides the reader with the most important information on the resulting sample which includes 468 companies of 11 economically developed countries from 4 distinct world regions.
Jacob Hörisch

Chapter 3. Overview of the Aggregate Results of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer

Managing sustainable development issues on the corporate level is generally acknowledged to be of growing importance for companies world-wide. Yet, to date little is known about the practice of sustainability management in different countries and how national practices compare to each other. More specifically, do companies in different regions of the world manage sustainability similarly, that is, is corporate sustainability a global trend and is there an “international state of the art” of sustainability management practice, perhaps even reflecting isomorphic tendencies? Or is sustainability management more of a regionally differentiated phenomenon? Do local challenges, cultural backgrounds and economic factors lead to different approaches towards corporate sustainability? This chapter presents the international average and country-specific data from the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer (ICSB). The international average results serve as a reference point showing the state of the art for the following 11 chapters offering details on the specific results for each country in the 2012 ICSB survey.
Jacob Hörisch, Sarah Elena Windolph

Country-Specific Findings


Chapter 4. International Corporate Sustainability Barometer – Australia

Agribusiness and mining activities for which Australia is well known are not the industries of choice for contemplating a sustainability barometer. Agribusiness uses and exports much water in its products, from the driest inhabited continent on earth. Mining removes and is heavily challenged to replace biodiversity, ecosystems, and geological structures. However, the need for sustainability management using available tools is strengthened by this very focus. Value added from the Corporate Sustainability Barometer is at a premium in these circumstances. Results reveal these differences for Australia, including the stronger focus on water management. It is sad to report that Australia lags international practice in sustainability management and companies are less aware of available tools. The Barometer and its results for corporate Australia provide a foundation for stakeholders, both internal and external, to focus on promotion, training, awareness development and incentive based policy setting towards future improvement of sustainability management.
Roger Burritt, Amanda Carter

Chapter 5. The Case of Belgium

Sustainability management is a relatively recent concept in Belgium, compared to other European countries like Germany or the UK. Prior studies focusing on sustainability management in Belgian companies show that, while considerable improvements have been made over the last decade, sustainability management in Belgium varies greatly (Louche et al., Belgium. In: Idowu SO, Leal Filho W (eds) Global practices of corporate social responsibility. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 125–147, 2009; Business & Society Belgium, Le baromètre CSR. Business and society Belgium magazine, Business & Society Belgium, Brussels, 2011).
This chapter compares the practices of Belgian companies with the average of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer. The analysis confirms that sustainability management is a living and evolving concept in Belgium, but it also shows that Belgian practices are commonly below the international average and sometimes uneven. For example, the perceived influence of stakeholders as well as the awareness and application of sustainability management tools are below the international average in Belgium.
However, even if the integration into core business varies greatly, a particularly high percentage of Belgian companies connect sustainability to most segments of their core business. This observation shows that Belgian companies are particularly interested in finding opportunities to link sustainability with their core business.
This chapter presents and discusses the major differences between Belgium and the international average as well as different possible explanations.
Nathalie Crutzen

Chapter 6. International Corporate Sustainability Barometer 2012: Sustainability Management in France

This chapter summarises the results for France as part of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer (ICSB). The introduction and the first section describe the context of sustainability in France and the characteristics of the French companies surveyed. The second section presents the main findings and some comparisons between our sample of French companies and the international average regarding the three main topics of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer. Concerning the intention to manage sustainability issues, French firms are found to be most strongly influenced by national authorities. With regard to the integration of sustainability into the organisation, the results show that in France social and environmental issues affect the majority of organisational units to a lesser degree than is the case on international average. In addition, differences exist between organisational units in France. More specifically, sustainability-related and externally-oriented units, such as CSR and communication, are most supportive of sustainability. By contrast, performance-oriented units, such as finance and accounting, are less supportive. Lastly, the actual implementation of corporate sustainability is characterised by the fact that the application of sustainability management tools is less common among French companies when compared to the international average. Nevertheless, French companies frequently measure the impact of their sustainability measures.
Amel Ben Rhouma, Claude Francoeur, Guillaume Robin

Chapter 7. Corporate Sustainability Management in Large German Companies

This chapter introduces the results of the German sample of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer (ICSB) and compares them with the results of the international average. German companies are generally perceived as comprehensively engaging in environmental and social issues. However, when analysing the results of the ICSB survey, it is striking how close German companies are to the international average rather than standing out. Nonetheless, some particularities can be found, for instance with regard to the awareness and application of employee-related sustainability management tools, which are more pronounced in German companies than on international average. There are also some negative deviations, such as the less close management of the freedom of association. Since German companies make up a very large share of the total sample (almost one-third), the results are not only compared to the overall international average but also to an alternative average excluding the German results. Possible explanations for the mediocre average positioning of the German companies are given and the potential for sustainability management is identified.
Jacob Hörisch, Sarah Elena Windolph, Stefan Schaltegger

Chapter 8. Sustainability Management in Hungary

In Hungary the culture for sustainability management is quite diverse. Even large companies are usually subsidiaries or suppliers to large multinational companies and the influence of buyers and owners is substantial. As a result there are a number of different traditions in sustainability management in the country and correspondingly relatively few typical cultural attributes. The impacts of investors and shareholders are given high scores in the survey, while consumers are given a low score in motivating companies to pursue sustainability management. Community also has little influence because community involvement in sustainability management does not have a long tradition in Hungary. Thus two-way communication and participative methods of stakeholder management are less common. The responses show that Hungarian companies manage most environmental issues, especially emissions, more closely than the international average. Sustainability management tools are broadly known and applied in the country, and the general satisfaction with the number and level of tools indicates that there is no need for further development here. Basically, Hungarian companies are more sceptical towards the benefits of the implementation of corporate sustainability. This is especially true with regard to the prospective positive impacts on cost reduction, innovation, employee motivation as well as enhancing and safeguarding corporate reputation. In sum, Hungarian companies have already demonstrated expertise in most fields of sustainability management, but the development of a more participative collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders in sustainability management is still needed.
Maria Csutora, Sandor Kerekes, Andrea Tabi

Chapter 9. Corporate Sustainability Barometer in Japan

This chapter describes the state of the art of corporate sustainability practice in Japan in comparison with the international sample. It is based on a questionnaire survey conducted as part of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer 2012 (ICSB) Project. In many instances Japanese scores are found to be above the international average, which indicates the significance of sustainability among the investigated companies. While a number of similarities are observed with regard to the intention, integration and implementation of corporate sustainability, some particularities specific to the Japanese context are also noted. For example, communities, consumers and trade associations are seen to be more promoting in Japan than in the international sample. Companies in Japan are also found to prefer different methods and guidelines for their sustainability management. Finally, the findings are explained based on the contextual factors in Japan.
Katsuhiko Kokubu, Hirotsugu Kitada, M. Badrul Haider

Chapter 10. The Current Status of Korean Corporate Sustainability Management

This chapter provides key findings and particularities of the Korean Corporate Sustainability Barometer survey. The majority of companies in the Korean sample are large-sized and belong to the manufacturing sector. As external drivers, NGOs and the media/public are the stakeholders most strongly impacting corporate sustainability implementation. Furthermore, top management commitment and legislation are found to be important factors promoting sustainability implementation. Notably, Korean companies indicate that the local community is also a strong driver. Korean companies consider legislation and lack of financial capacities to be major barriers to the implementation of corporate sustainability management. With regard to the integration of sustainability into the core business and organisation, the majority of Korean companies show that they connect sustainability to most or all segments of their core business. This indicates a high level of sustainability integration into the core business and organisation of Korean companies. Driven by formal and informal institutional forces, Korean companies are aware of the importance of sustainability, and they actively adopt sustainability management tools and approaches to implement corporate sustainability management.
Jong-Dae Kim, Ki-Hoon Lee

Chapter 11. Exploring Sustainability in Spanish Companies

This chapter focuses on the analysis of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer (ICSB) results in Spain, which is the fourteenth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP. A total of 23 Spanish listed companies have participated in the survey, representing about 4.9 % of the total number of companies involved in the ICSB project. Although the results show that Spanish companies carry out similar sustainability practices to those observed on international average, there are three main differences that should be highlighted. Firstly, environmental aspects are the main sustainability issues for Spanish companies. Secondly, a strong link is observed between sustainability issues and the core business of the Spanish companies. Thirdly, the main driver for the corporate social responsibility and sustainability performance of Spanish companies seems to be the legitimation of their activities. Evidence for this can be found with regard to corporate motivation (e.g. the strong influence of society-oriented stakeholders), implementation of sustainability management issues (which is strongly related to stakeholder demands) and use of sustainability reporting tools which are widely implemented by Spanish companies.
José M. Moneva, Eduardo Ortas, Igor Álvarez

Chapter 12. State of the Art and Progress of Corporate Sustainability in Switzerland

The state of the art and the progress of sustainability management were surveyed among 205 companies with headquarters in the German-speaking part of Switzerland; 25 of those companies responded to the ICSB questionnaire. Compared to the international average, the sample included a larger number of small companies (between 250 and 10,000 employees) and from the finance & services sector, but fewer companies from the industry sector. For many questions, the results indicate similar trends compared to the international average, but values from Swiss companies are often lower. Some differences were noticeable. Although social and environmental issues were considered less important for the management than on international average, a substantial knowledge and relatively high level of application of management tools is striking. Also the influence of many external stakeholders is considered less promoting for the implementation of corporate sustainability. The findings are discussed in relation to the particularities of the Swiss sample.
Jörg E. U. Schmidt, Claus-Heinrich Daub

Chapter 13. Managing Responsible and Sustainable Business in the UK

Our study reveals both notable differences and similarities between the average international and UK samples for the issues we investigate in the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer (ICSB). Commitment from top management, corporate philosophy and self-commitment seem to drive corporate sustainability in the UK more strongly than internationally. We also find business case expectations from sustainability adoption to be higher in the UK than internationally. Conversely, the role of legislation and government incentives for implementing sustainability is rated higher in the international sample than by UK companies. Our study also highlights several key points asserted by both the international and the UK samples. These include, firstly, companies’ emphasis on managing core environmental and social issues such as the efficient use of energy and water, emissions control and workplace health and safety. However, both cohorts also stress the need for greater contribution towards social issues management. Secondly, whilst organisational units such as CSR/sustainability, top management and public relations are seen to influence responsible and sustainable practices positively, finance and accounting departments have least influence on their implementation.
Biswaraj Ghosh, Christian Herzig

Chapter 14. The Case of Corporate Sustainability in the United States of America

Being the third largest country by population and the largest economy today, the United States of America (US) impacts changes and developments on a global scale while US companies also face national and international challenges such as resource consumption, emissions control, as well as health and safety concerns. The findings on the current state and progress of sustainability management and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the US reveal that social issues are closely managed and that the stakeholders demand according engagement by the companies. The US companies surveyed that are engaged in sustainability are also quite society-oriented. Striving for legitimacy, risk-orientation and compliance therefore can be seen as predominant motives for dealing with sustainability issues. At the same time the companies have the potential to seize market opportunities by being more innovative with respect to their business models, products and services.
John Morelli, Dorli Harms

Patterns and Conclusion


Chapter 15. General Patterns and Conclusions

Do global patterns of corporate sustainability management exist or are national differences reflected in substantially different corporate practices? This chapter reviews the literature supporting these two lines of argumentation. By taking a ‘bird’s view’ of the overall patterns of sustainability management, we examine whether similarities or differences are predominant on the basis of the International Corporate Sustainability Barometer data. The key findings are that similarities predominate for the overall pattern but some national differences are found when examining the results in detail.
Stefan Schaltegger, Dorli Harms


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