Getting to the heart of the matter: A values-based model for extending in-house corporate sustainability programmes
Lesley J. Stone, Curtin University of Technology, Australia
It is probably safe to say that the majority of the world’s noteworthy corporations now have in-house programmes that address issues of relevance to sustainable development. A trawl through their websites and annual reports shows the range of activities that have been undertaken in pursuit of sustainability. However, it is probably also safe to say that still more needs to be done. On one level, the majority of the world’s businesses have not yet adopted the sustainability agenda, and work needs to be done on how to get more businesses interested and involved. On another level, there are still very few businesses to which the term ‘sustainable’ could actually be applied. There is therefore work to be done on how to extend the activities of the businesses that are already active. Staff of the Centre for Excellence in Cleaner Production at Curtin University in Western Australia are working in partnership with industry and government on both these levels, and this paper reflects the learning from some of their work.

The paper focuses on a values-based model that is designed to bring about the organisational change and learning that is necessary for sustainability to be embedded in corporate culture. The model has been developed as a result of an in-depth evaluation of the effectiveness of sustainability programmes for business. It is grounded in experience, practice and organisation theory, and recognises the need to develop and customise programmes according to needs, activities and culture of the individual businesses within which we work. Because of its adaptability and flexibility, it can be used when working with businesses that are in the embryonic stage in relation to sustainability-related issues, as well as to enhance and extend the results of those that have already travelled some way down that path.

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