Business Cases for Sustainability: A Stakeholder Theory Perspective

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The “business case for sustainability” is a notion often referenced in the corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility literature. Whereas some see sustainability and the business case as contradictions and thus emphasize the existence of trade-offs, others highlight how (potential) business cases can be created by managing ecological, social, and economic aspects. Both views have in common that the “business case” is implicitly or explicitly seen as creating financial performance, often for one group of stakeholders, only. The fact that a business case is not a given phenomenon but has to be co-created in the exchange between and with contributions from various stakeholders has so far not been analysed in depth. By taking a stakeholder theory perspective, this article extends the existing research on what business and a business case are about and analyses the understanding of business cases for sustainability and how they can be created with and by stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization & Environment
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 09.2019

Bibliographical note

First published 2.08.2017, Print Sept. 2019

    Research areas

  • Sustainability sciences, Management & Economics - Stakeholder theory, business cases, corporate sustainablity, sustainability management, business cases for sustainability, management of stakenholder relationship, triple win, stakeholder business cases for sustainability, sustainability performance, business performance