Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Sustainable Organizations

  • Nora E. Munguia VegaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_535


Sustainable organization is a concept that describes organizations that follow or are committed to advancing the principles of sustainable development. The Agenda 2030 urged organizations to become more sustainable in order to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Becoming a sustainable organization is a complex issue that requires the radical transformation in many organizational structures to strengthen their corporate sustainability.

This chapter presents the basic premise of a sustainable organization starting with a definition of the term followed by a description of the strategies used to balance the economic, social, and environmental dimensions in sustainable organizations. Next, an explanation of how the standards from the International Organization for Standardization have played a role in implementing sustainability initiatives are provided. Following this discussion, a description of how corporate social sustainability is an important characteristic of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aggarwal P, Singh AK (2018) CSR and sustainability reporting practices in India: an in-depth content analysis of top-listed companies. Social Responsibility Journal, SRJ-03-2018-0078.  https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-03-2018-0078
  2. Ahi P, Searcy C (2015) Assessing sustainability in the supply chain: a triple bottom line approach. Appl Math Model 39:2882–2896.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apm.2014.10.055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen M (2016) Strategic communication for sustainable organizations. Springer, SwitzerlandCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asif M, Searcy C, Zutshi A, Fisscher OAM (2013) An integrated management systems approach to corporate social responsibility. J Clean Prod 56:7–17.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.10.034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumgartner RJ, Rauter R (2017) Strategic perspectives of corporate sustainability management to develop a sustainable organization. J Clean Prod 140:81–92.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.04.146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campos LMS, Aparecida D, Heizen DM et al (2015) Environmental performance indicators: a study on ISO 14001 certified companies. J Clean Prod 99:286–296.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.03.019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carroll AB (2015) Corporate social responsibility: the centerpiece of competing and complementary frameworks. Organ Dyn 44(2):87–96.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2015.02.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castka P, Balzarova MA (2008) ISO 26000 and supply chains – on the diffusion of the social responsibility standard. Int J Prod Econ 111:274–286.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2006.10.017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiarini A, Vagnoni E (2017) Differences in implementing corporate social responsibility through SA8000 and ISO 26000 standards: research from European manufacturing. J Manuf Technol Manag 28:438–457.  https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-12-2016-0170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Sousa Jabbour ABL, Verdério Júnior SA, Jabbour CJC et al (2017) Toward greener supply chains: is there a role for the new ISO 50001 approach to energy and carbon management? Energ Effic 10:777.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-016-9478-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Doh JP, Littell B, Quigley NR (2015) CSR and sustainability in emerging markets: societal, institutional, and organizational influences. Organ Dyn 44(2):112–120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2015.02.005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Engert S, Rauter R, Baumgartner RJ (2016) Exploring the integration of corporate sustainability into strategic management: a literature review. J Clean Prod 112:2833–2850.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.08.031CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ferrón Vílchez V (2017) The dark side of ISO 14001: the symbolic environmental behavior. Eur Res Manag Bus Econ 23:33–39.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iedeen.2016.09.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gimenez C, Sierra V, Rodon J (2012) Sustainable operations: their impact on the triple bottom line. Int J Prod Econ 140:149–159.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2012.01.035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hahn R (2013) ISO 26000 and the standardization of strategic management processes for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Bus Strateg Environ 22:442–455.  https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.1751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hahn T, Pinkse J, Preuss L, Figge F (2015) Tensions in corporate sustainability: towards an integrative framework. J Bus Ethics 127(2):297–316.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2047-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hubbard G (2009) Measuring organizational performance: beyond the triple bottom line. Bus Strateg Environ 191:177–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ilkay MS, Aslan E (2012) The effect of the ISO 9001 quality management system on the performance of SMEs. Int J Qual Reliab Manag 29(7):753–778.  https://doi.org/10.1108/02656711211258517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. International Organization for Standardization ISO (2015) ISO 14001 introduction. Retrieved from http://www.iso.org/iso/introduction_to_iso_14001.pdf
  20. International Organization for Standardization ISO (2018) Contributing to the sustainable development goals with ISO standards. 23. ISBN 978–92–67-10790-5. Available online: https://www.iso.org/publication/PUB100429.html
  21. Isaksson L, KDyiessling T, Harvey M (2014) Corporate social responsibility: why bother? Organ Dyn 43(1):64–72.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2013.10.008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kleine A, von Hauff M (2009) Sustainability-driven implementation of corporate social responsibility: application of the integrative sustainability triangle. J Bus Ethics 85(Suppl 3):517–533.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0212-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kudłak R, Szőcs I, Krumay B, Martinuzzi A (2018) The future of CSR – selected findings from a Europe-wide Delphi study. J Clean Prod 183:282–291.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.02.119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lozano R (2008) Developing collaborative and sustainable organizations. J Clean Prod 16:499–509.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2007.01.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morrison-Saunders A, Pope J (2013) Conceptualising and managing trade-offs in sustainability assessment. Environ Impact Assess Rev 38:54–63.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eiar.2012.06.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nurunnabi M, Esquer J, Munguia N, Zepeda D, Perez R, Velazquez L (2019) Reaching the sustainable development goals 2030: energy efficiency as an approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR). GeoJournal 0123456789.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-018-09965-x
  27. Pinto J (1995) A multifocal framework for developing Intentionally Sustainable Organizations. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 28:17–23.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.07.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sala S, Ciuffo B, Nijkamp P (2015) A systemic framework for sustainability assessment. Ecol Econ 119:314–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sethi PS, Rovenpor JL, Demir M (2017) Enhancing the quality of reporting in corporate social responsibility guidance documents: the roles of ISO 26000, Global Reporting Initiative and CSR-Sustainability Monitoro Title. Bus Soc Rev 122:139–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Steurer R, Langer ME, Konrad A, Martinuzzi A (2005) Corporations, stakeholders and sustainable development I: a theoretical exploration of business-society relations. J Bus Ethics 61(3):263–281.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-005-7054-0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thérivel R, Minas P (2012) Measuring SEA effectiveness ensuring effective sustainability appraisal. Impact Assess ande Projec Apprais 5517.  https://doi.org/10.3152/147154602781766717
  32. United Nation General Assembly (UN) (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015 42809:1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13398-014-0173-7.2
  33. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) (2018) Sustainable development goals report 2018. 64. ISBN 978-92-1-101390-0. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Velazquez LE, Esquer J, Munguıa NE, Moure-Eraso R (2011) Sustainable learning organizations. Learn Organ 18:36–44.  https://doi.org/10.1108/09696471111095984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Whiteman G, Walker B, Perego P (2013) Planetary boundaries : Ecological foundations for corporate sustainability. Manag Stud 50:307–335.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01073.x
  36. Witkowska J (2016) Corporate social responsibility: selected theoretical and empirical aspects. Comp Econ Res 19:27–43.  https://doi.org/10.1515/cer-2016-0002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhou Z, Ki EJ (2018) Exploring the role of CSR fit and the length of CSR involvement in routine business and corporate crises settings. Public Relat Rev 44:75–83.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.11.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zinenko A, Rovira MR, Montiel I (2015) The fit of the social responsibility standard ISO 26000 within other CSR instruments: redundant or complementary? Sustain Account Manag Policy J 6:498–526.  https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-05-2014-0032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zobel T (2013) ISO 14001 certification in manufacturing firms: a tool for those in need or an indication of greenness? J Clean Prod 43:37–44.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.12.014CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Sustainability Program, Industrial Engineering DepartmentUniversity of SonoraHermosilloMexico

Section editors and affiliations

  • Luis Velazquez
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainability Graduate Program, Industrial Engineering DepartmentUniversity of SonoraSonoraMexico