Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish the feasibility and benefits of forming a cross‐industry corporate sustainability association, Corporate 21, comprised of leading reputable corporations around the world. Design/methodology/approach – Such an association would require an even reporting structure and a formal sustainability agenda – Corporate Agenda 21. In determining the latter, this paper drew initiatives from 12 current cross‐industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports; inclusion is based on repeated findings and potential global application of initiative. Findings – It is debated that such an association would serve to further strengthen the role of business in the modern sustainability and CSR movement, insofar as it would offer increased cross‐industry collaboration through a collective plan of action in the field. Research limitations/implications – The paper would benefit from a broader range of CSR report analysis, including all reports from leading corporations in fields of CSR, sustainability and innovation. A subsequent study should also develop a benchmarking system for all Corporate Agenda 21 initiatives. Practical implications – A unified sustainability blueprint and shared cross‐industry CSR collaboration would provide the most beneficial plan of action for business by working: first, reverse the image “corporate” has globally; second, offer money‐saving solutions and healthy profit attainment at the heart of its programs; third, allow companies to supersede inevitable governmentally imposed environmental and social regulations; fourth, create inter‐company synergy through effective global intent; provide member corporations with a competitive market advantage; and finally, foster an innovative business environment. Originality/value – Such an association would provide a new forum from which business would have increased understanding and greater leverage in social and environmental responsibility and innovation.
Corporate Communications: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2009
Keywords: Sustainable development; Corporate social responsibility; Innovation; Competitive advantage
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