Finding the God Particle of the Sustainability Business Case: Greener Pastures for Shareholder Value

20 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2013  

Marc L. Bertoneche

Harvard Business School (HBS)

Cornis van der Lugt

Stellenbosch University Business School

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

The start of the 2000s saw a flurry of international publications on “the business case” for sustainability, seeking to map out the returns on investment and to differentiate recommended actions from cases of corporate philanthropy. Reports by business organisations and others identified different categories of justifications, incentives, benefits and levels of making the business case. 1) Research over the last decade has pointed to a complex relation between sustainability and financial performance. 2) Results have been influenced by different input and output variables applied, by what is defined as: “sustainability” or “socially responsible” actions, the scope of the agenda covered and the definition of what is the ultimate goal (e.g. increased profit, shareholder value or longer term success and value of the business).

Suggested Citation

Bertoneche, Marc L. and van der Lugt, Cornis, Finding the God Particle of the Sustainability Business Case: Greener Pastures for Shareholder Value (August 2012). Harvard Business School Finance Working Paper No. 13-072. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2221455 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2221455

Marc L. Bertoneche (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Cornis Van der Lugt

Stellenbosch University Business School ( email )

Carl Cronjé Drive
Bellville, Cape Town 7530
South Africa

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