Definitions and organizational practice of sustainability in the for-profit sector of Nova Scotia
LE3 .A278 2009
Bachelor of Business Administration
The term “sustainability” has now been a part of local, national, and international environmental discussions for well over a decade. First legitimized by the United Nations in 1987 with the release of the Brundtland Commission and Our Common Future (WCED, 1987), the term “sustainability” has come to have vastly different meanings for different business organizations. Organizations are faced with a high degree of uncertainty when attempting to move towards sustainability. The immense amount of literature and information available about the concept is daunting. Although many concepts, frameworks, and tools are available for business executives to use, little has been done in terms of developing in a rigorous, applied definition of sustainability that can be clearly understood, implemented, and measured within the organization. Therefore, this study aims to gain insight into executives’ thinking around definitions and the implementation of sustainability practices in Nova Scotia. This thesis begins with a comprehensive literature review of three methods for integrating sustainability into business, and then discusses the importance of leaders in ensuring sustainability is effectively implemented. The research outlined in this thesis utilizes a small sample of for-profit organizations in Nova Scotia deemed to be “sustainable” by external validation sources, and analyzes their responses to interview questions in order to develop key relationships among the data. xi Although conceptualizations of sustainability among business executives in Nova Scotia have also shown a level of confusion, the findings of this study indicate that there are four key relationships among types of definition used, experiences leading to those definitions, the integration of strategic and operational planning, and the reputation of the organization that could be helpful insights into future research in this area.
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