Business and sustainability
Are organisations embracing and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
In 2015 a master plan for the planet was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced. The 17 goals are to be met by 2030 which is an enormous challenge for all stakeholders involved. This presentation will provide an introduction to the SDGs with a focus on how organizations are approaching their implementation and will discuss whether they are reframing their business models into more sustainable ones for necessary systemic changes. Organisations that take the step into being more sustainable are welcoming changes since sustainability is in many ways about transformation. Embracing the SDGs demands an open mindset, highlighting sustainable values as a top priority. The study behind this presentation is an empirical one that will be carried out among leading companies in their sustainability approach and implementation. The primary source of data will be in-depth interviews to gather experience-based knowledge on actions taken towards adaptation. The current literature on sustainable development and the SDGs does not offer proven journey on how to implement the SDGs into a corporates strategy. Therefore, in this presentation, the approach of organisations towards the SDGs will be discussed, also in relation to the UN’s aims, and its member states’ actual political will to shift towards a greener future.
Messaging sustainability to key stakeholders: A case study on energy companies in Iceland
Firms play an important role in the shift toward sustainability. Traditional energy companies face a new challenging task to communicate their sustainability initiatives to relevant stakeholders. The fast-changing marketplace requires firms to engage with their internal and external customers in a transformational way. In the past two decades, energy companies have increasingly identified sustainability as a critical factor in their operations. However, the incorporation of sustainability into corporate strategy is not well explored. The purpose of this study is to explore how energy companies incorporate sustainability into their corporate strategy. This case study is primarily based on in-depth interviews with key people from the three big players in the Icelandic energy market, mainly focused on the corporate internal environment. The data collected from the interviews was triangulated with annual reports, website information and documents from observations. This case study aims to contribute to the discourse in sustainability strategies by drawing lessons learned of how energy companies integrated sustainability into their operations. The results of this investigation provide valuable insights to guide decision-making and monitoring of sustainability goals.
The reasons why energy companies want to be responsible business players. A study of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Energy Sector
Energy companies are increasingly being pressured to address a broader set of social responsibilities that motivates them to incorporate a holistic approach to their activities. To do so, many firms have adopted Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a strategic business framework that allows them to address internal motivations as well as external pressures. While the drivers behind CSR implementation have been thoroughly covered in general by the literature, a holistic study of the specific motivations for energy companies to adopt CSR seems to be missing. Therefore, the objective of this presentation is to share the findings of two years of study which have allowed to identify the drivers that motivate energy companies to implement CSR. The findings indicate that the understanding of CSR has evolved from being limited to the generation of profit to the belief that companies need to address a broader set of social responsibilities. The findings reveal that the evolution of CSR has been linked to the social expectations of the time and that its understanding and implementation has had a certain relation with the Sustainable Development Agenda. The findings suggest that there are internal, connecting, and external drivers that motivate energy companies to adopt CSR.
Tourism and Corporate Environmental Management in Iceland: Industry perspectives on drivers and barriers
Impacts on the environment have been recognised as a major challenge for the Icelandic tourism sector. The Icelandic Tourist Board’s survey found that 75% of locals reported that tourist pressure on the environment was too high. Taken in juxtaposition with the fact that approximately 92% of visitors claim they visit Iceland to experience the natural environment it is likely that the industry will be facing more scrutiny in coming years in terms of its management of these issues. The paper aims to provide an overview of the drivers and barriers for tourism companies in implementing Corporate Environmental Management, i.e. strategic management of environmental issues. The research is based on a literature review of relevant studies from different academic fields, for example, the organizational, institutional and, sustainable tourism literature. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with tourism companies and relevant tourism organizations in Iceland provide the industry’s own perspectives on the factors that prompt environmental sustainability concerns through a taxonomy of drivers and barriers. Preliminary findings suggest that tourism companies in Iceland have been dealing with unprecedented growth, complicated institutional frameworks and increased societal pressure to address key environmental issues. Implications of the findings for companies and policy-makers will also be discussed.