How do corporations embed sustainability into their businesses? How do they change and learn with regard to sustainable practices? What feedback loops exist to enable or inhibit corporate sustainability efforts?
The NorthStar Initiative at the Institute on the Environment has joined with the Global Organizational Learning and Development Network for Sustainability (GOLDEN) to address the above questions and more.
Many businesses today are engaging in sustainability initiatives such as energy conservation, reducing waste, monitoring carbon footprints and instituting socially responsible purchasing policies. However, how these actions are integrated and managed within a business model is not well understood. GOLDEN seeks to fill this knowledge gap and study corporate sustainability activities through a multi-stakeholder research collaboration that, like NorthStar, brings business and researchers together to tackle sustainability challenges.
NorthStar is excited to collaborate with the GOLDEN initiative and bring expertise on environmental aspects of business performance that meld with GOLDEN's expertise on organizational learning and change. While there are many interesting components to the GOLDEN initiative, NorthStar is particularly interested in its global nature. GOLDEN's research plan calls for companies from 10 different worldwide geographic locations and seven sectors, with a goal of studying more than 100 companies. A study of this magnitude and scope has not been undertaken before. The insights on business sustainability it yields will be invaluable in highlighting how global sustainability leaders achieve success and how other companies can improve their efforts.
The first GOLDEN pilot study has launched with CODAN, a Denmark based insurance company. Another half-dozen pilot studies are expected to begin sometime after our next international meeting in early November in Boston.
NorthStar is working with its interested partners on this GOLDEN opportunity and is interested to learn how sustainability has permeated your organization. For more information or to share your story, please contact Jennifer Schmitt.
Photo courtesy M. Buschmann