From Knowledge to Application: Dissemination of Sustainability Management Tools in Large German Companies

Research output: Working paperWorking papers


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 literature, little is known about their acceptance and diffusion. This paper 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, e.g. through the promotion of approaches and related professional education, may be a driver of more frequent application of sustainability management tools and thus foster sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
PublisherCentre for Sustainability Management
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)978-3-942638-06-7
Publication statusPublished - 2011