A longitudinal analysis of the knowledge and application of sustainability management tools in large German companies

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The operationalisation of sustainability on the corporate level is recognised to be a management task and implies the choice and application of management tools. Although researchers have proposed a large number of sustainability management tools in the literature, little is known about their acceptance and implementation. This paper extends the existing literature on the dissemination of tools. It discusses which sustainability management tools are known and applied in practice, and conducts a longitudinal analysis based on three empirical surveys among large German companies carried out in 2002, 2006 and 2010. One important result is that the knowledge and the application of sustainability management tools are positively related. Furthermore, the application of sustainability management tools has increased throughout the period of the surveys. A main conclusion drawn from the empirical results is that increased knowledge, for example through the promotion of approaches and professional education, may be a driver of more frequent application and the dissemination of sustainability management tools, and may foster sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociety and Economy
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)549-579
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2012