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Integrated sustainability management for organizations

Integrated sustainability management for organizations Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose the Viable System Model (VSM) as an effective model to base the analysis of organizational sustainability (long-term viability). It is specifically proposed as a model to integrate the various sustainability tools, and as the basis for designing a unified Sustainability Management System. Design/methodology/approach – The VSM is used as an organizational model to examine three prominent sustainability standards: ISO 26000, ISO 14001 and ISO 14044. A generic manufacturing company is used as a template; and its typical business processes are related to each of the VSM’s components. Each clause of the three sustainability standards is then mapped on to the VSM model. These three models are integrated into one, by analysing the differences, similarities and complementarities in the context of each VSM component, and by identifying common invariant functions. Findings – In all, 12 generic sustainability functions are identified. ISO 26000 has the widest scope; ISO 14001 is focused primarily on internal measurement and control (System 3), while ISO 14044 is a complex performance indicator at the System 3 level. There is a general absence of System 2. Each standard can be regarded as a distinct management layer, which needs to be integrated with the Business Management layer. Research limitations/implications – Further research is needed to explore the specifics of integration. Practical implications – This integration should not be based on creating distinct roles for each management layer. Originality/value – The paper uses the insights of organizational cybernetics to examine prominent sustainability standards and advance sustainability management at the business level. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Kybernetes Emerald Publishing

Integrated sustainability management for organizations

Kybernetes , Volume 44 (6/7): 21 – Jun 1, 2015

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References (21)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0368-492X
DOI
10.1108/K-12-2014-0291
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose the Viable System Model (VSM) as an effective model to base the analysis of organizational sustainability (long-term viability). It is specifically proposed as a model to integrate the various sustainability tools, and as the basis for designing a unified Sustainability Management System. Design/methodology/approach – The VSM is used as an organizational model to examine three prominent sustainability standards: ISO 26000, ISO 14001 and ISO 14044. A generic manufacturing company is used as a template; and its typical business processes are related to each of the VSM’s components. Each clause of the three sustainability standards is then mapped on to the VSM model. These three models are integrated into one, by analysing the differences, similarities and complementarities in the context of each VSM component, and by identifying common invariant functions. Findings – In all, 12 generic sustainability functions are identified. ISO 26000 has the widest scope; ISO 14001 is focused primarily on internal measurement and control (System 3), while ISO 14044 is a complex performance indicator at the System 3 level. There is a general absence of System 2. Each standard can be regarded as a distinct management layer, which needs to be integrated with the Business Management layer. Research limitations/implications – Further research is needed to explore the specifics of integration. Practical implications – This integration should not be based on creating distinct roles for each management layer. Originality/value – The paper uses the insights of organizational cybernetics to examine prominent sustainability standards and advance sustainability management at the business level.

Journal

KybernetesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 1, 2015

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