A more comprehensive and quantitative approach to corporate sustainability

Joseph M. Wright, Reggie J. Caudill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study proposes a new quantitative methodology and extendable framework to assess corporate sustainability more comprehensively and to capture interrelationships across the multiple domains of sustainability. A case study from the mining industry is presented to demonstrate the application of this new approach and its ability to extract meaningful insights regarding the company's progress towards sustainability. The comprehensive sustainability target method (CSTM) is a novel extension to an existing environmental burden sustainability assessment technique with additional focus on impacts within and across the societal and social justice domain. CSTM extends sustainability assessment recognizing planetary limits from human activity and relevant societal and community-based targets by formalizing assessment to include social and environmental beneficial impacts, as well as the interdependencies between the economic, environmental and societal domains. Outcomes from the mining industry case study reveal new insights into the sustainability of corporate operations as the comprehensive assessment framework provides a deeper and more extensive evaluation as compared to traditional sustainability assessments and corporate disclosures. In addition to maximal earth carrying capacity estimates for environmental burden targets, this study proposes that companies should assess sustainability for minimal limits applying to social beneficial impacts and maximal limits for social burden impacts. The overall theoretical construct and framework are presented to illustrate the robustness and extendibility of the technique to broadly incorporate various sustainability domains, assessment boundaries, and temporal considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106409
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Keywords

  • Corporate sustainability
  • Economic
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Environment
  • Social
  • Sustainability assessment

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