Organisational Involvement of Corporate Functions in Sustainability Management: An Empirical Analysis of Large German Companies

Research output: Working paperWorking papers


This paper investigates whether and to what extent different corporate unctions are involved in corporate sustainability management. Most of the existing literature agrees that sustainable development of a company is a cross-functional challenge.
It thus seems obvious that all corporate functions or departments should be involved in sustainability management. An empirical analysis of large German companies in 2010, however, reveals large differences between the functional units.
We propose a framework which distinguishes different components of involvement in practice: affectedness by sustainability issues, promotion of the implementation of corporate sustainability and application of specific sustainability management tools.
The main findings are that with regard to the kind and the degree of involvement some corporate functions like CSR, communications and strategic management are heavily involved.
Contrary to these functions, accounting, management control and finance are considered to be largely unaffected by sustainability. Overall, significant links between affectedness and the application of sustainability management
tools exist as well as between the promotion of corporate sustainability and tool application whereas the affectedness of a functional unit influences the application of tools the most.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
PublisherCentre for Sustainability Management
Number of pages20
ISBN (print)978-3-942638-10-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011