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  • 1.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    et al.
    University of Leeds, School of Earth & Environment, Leeds, UK; Kedge Business School (Bordeaux), France.
    Comyns, Breeda
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Napolitano, Giulio
    Queen's University Belfast, UK, Centre for Statistical Science and Operational Research (CenSSOR), Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.
    CEO statements in sustainability reports: Substantive information or background noise?2014In: Accounting Forum, ISSN 0155-9982, E-ISSN 1467-6303, Vol. 38, no 4, p. 241-257Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines the question of whether corporate sustainability reports can serve as accurate and fair representations of corporate sustainability performance. It presents the results of a sentiment analysis of CEO statements in corporate sustainability reports and corporate financial reports between 2001 and 2010. Making an analogy with corporate financial reporting it is expected that if corporate sustainability reports accurately reflect sustainability performance, then this should be reflected in the rhetoric used. The analysis shows that the rhetoric in the CEO statements of sustainability reports is indicative of impression management rather than accountability, despite increasing standardization of sustainability reporting.

  • 2.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    et al.
    Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds, UK.
    Figge, Frank
    Euromed Management, Marseille, France.
    Fordlândia: Corporate Citizenship or Corporate Colonialism2011In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 69-78Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This case focuses on the social dimension of a large-scale plantation project of Ford Motors Company in Brazil. With its Fordlândia plantation, Henry Ford aimed to trigger an industrial revolution in the Amazon basin just like he had done in the United States two decades earlier. However, upon arrival, the company encountered unforeseen challenges linked to the attempted export of the Ford way of thinking and doing business – that had worked so well at home in Michigan – into the remote and underdeveloped Amazon basin. Yet, when failure became clear, the company decided to buy a new stretch of land nearby with the intent of reconsidering its way of doing business at the plantation. At its new operations, the company needed to better balance the trade-off between its own core values and those of its local workforce. The case is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate management courses as well as a wider audience. 

  • 3.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    et al.
    Kedge Business School (Bordeaux), France.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School (Marseille), France.
    Hoepner, Andreas
    University of Reading, UK; Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
    Holt, Diane
    University of Essex, UK.
    Kraak, Johannes Marcelus
    INSEEC Business School (Bordeaux), France.
    Yu, Pei-Shan
    University of Reading, UK; Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden.
    Media coverage of climate change: An international comparison2017In: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, ISSN 2399-6544, E-ISSN 2399-6552, Vol. 35, no 6, p. 1029-1054Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We present an international comparison of broadsheet newspaper coverage of climate change. We employ two complementary theoretical lenses, multiple streams theory and institutional theory, to explore why climate change has become headline news in some countries but has received comparatively little coverage in others. The study utilises a worldwide sample across 41 different countries for the year 2008, covering 113 leading national broadsheet newspapers. A cross-sectional regression model is used to identify whether and how a range of contextual factors impact coverage of climate change. To a certain extent, a country’s direct exposure to climate change and the measures that have been taken to combat global warming influence the position of climate change on the media agenda. Crucially, however, we identify a number of contextual factors that impact climate change-related media coverage in different national contexts. In particular, we find a significantly positive relationship between regulatory quality and levels of media coverage. At the same time, unemployment trends are significantly negatively related to media attention to climate change. Gross domestic product per capita does not help to explain levels of climate change-related media coverage. In other words, climate change appears to have moved beyond simply being a ‘rich country issue’.

  • 4.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    et al.
    Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, England.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Holt, Diane
    Queen's University Management School, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
    Sustainability-Related Media Coverage and Socioeconomic Development: A Regional and North-South Perspective2013In: Environment and Planning. C, Government and Policy, ISSN 0263-774X, E-ISSN 1472-3425, Vol. 31, no 4, p. 716-740Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With this paper we discuss the differences between sustainability-related media agendas across different countries and regions. Utilising a sample of 115 leading national newspapers covering forty-one countries, we show that typically no homogeneous global trends exist with regard to sustainability-related media agendas. Instead, significant differences exist regarding the national-level prioritisations of sustainability-related issues in the countries under review. To some extent, these observed differences can be attributed to different levels of socioeconomic development as measured by Human Development Index scores and gross domestic product per capita. Here, generic differences can be identified between newspapers from the Global North and South, with a range of issues such as climate change emerging as typically Northern issues, whereas issues such as corruption and poverty show significantly higher levels of coverage across newspapers from the Global South. We conclude with a discussion of the results in the context of global environmental governance.

  • 5.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School (Bordeaux), France.
    Givry, Philippe
    KEDGE Business School (Marseille), France.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School (Marseille), France.
    Trends and patterns in sustainability-related media coverage: A classification of issue-level attention2018In: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, ISSN 2399-6544, E-ISSN 2399-6552, Vol. 36, no 5, p. 937-962Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainability has moved from fringe topic to headline news and key policy discourse in its own right. Yet, the sustainability discourse remains fragmented, with a diverse set of challenges receiving vastly different levels of attention. Nevertheless, the vast majority of previous studies have focused on media attention to climate change, whereas other sustainability challenges have received much less attention in the academic literature. In this paper, we explore trends and patterns in media coverage across a set of ten sustainability challenges. In particular, we are interested in the extent to which the recent trends and patterns in coverage that have been well-documented for climate change are reflected by other sustainability challenges. We utilise a sample of 23 broadsheet newspapers from five different countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, US), covering a 17-year period from 2000 to 2016. Using the agenda-setting literature as a starting-point for our enquiry, we then turn to the toolset provided by financial econometrics to develop a basic typology of media attention focusing on the two dimensions information/noise and seasonality/non-seasonality. We find that media coverage on climate change, poverty and HIV/AIDS can mainly be characterized as information, whereas the remaining seven issues included in our study appear noise-driven. Seasonal patterns in coverage appear most pronounced for socioeconomic issues. Media attention to biodiversity and cleaner technologies has been crowded in by increased coverage on climate change. At the same time, we find clear divergences from overall trends and patterns at the level of different countries and individual newspapers.

  • 6. Chenavaz, Régis Y.
    et al.
    Dimitrov, Stanko
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, France.
    When does eco-efficiency rebound or backfire? An analytical model2021In: European Journal of Operational Research, ISSN 0377-2217, E-ISSN 1872-6860, Vol. 290, no 2, p. 687-700Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is known that an eco-efficiency strategy, which saves resources in the production process, may be offset by a rebound effect; it may even backfire. Less known are the exact conditions under which eco-efficiency rebounds or backfires. This article fills the gap by providing an analytical model of the rebound and backfire effects. We propose an optimal control framework of dynamic pricing and eco-efficiency investment, for which eco-efficiency reduces the unit production cost and boosts the demand of environmentally concerned consumers. Results, which hold with a general demand formulation, examine the analytic conditions for the rebound and backfire effects. They also highlight the possibility of a reverse rebound effect. Such results pave the way to sounder sustainability strategies.

  • 7.
    Comyns, Breeda
    et al.
    Department of Strategy, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Department of Strategy, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Greenhouse gas reporting quality in the oil and gas industry2015In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 28, no 3, p. 403-433Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the evolution of greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting quality and to determine whether the evolution of reporting quality is linked with the type of information reported based on the “search”, “experience”, and “credence” typology.

    Design/methodology/approach: The method is based on the content analysis of GHG reporting in 245 sustainability reports by 45 oil and gas companies between 1998 and 2010. The content analysis disclosure index developed links GHG reporting requirements with seven quality dimensions. The information associated with each item on the content analysis index is classified as “search”, “experience” or “credence”. Statistical analysis is used to determine whether any significant change occurred in either overall GHG reporting quality or in the quality of reporting in any of the individual dimensions of quality over the period of the study.FindingsGHG reporting quality has not improved significantly between 1998 and 2010. The quality of reporting is not the same in each of the seven dimensions of quality and this can be explained by information typology.

    Originality/value: This paper provides the first longitudinal analysis of the quality of GHG reporting. The methodology developed advances current measures of reporting quality by linking reporting requirements with particular quality dimensions. The results show that the type of information is important in terms of quality evolution and that this can dictate the measures required to improve quality.

  • 8.
    Comyns, Breeda
    et al.
    Euromed Management, Rue Antoine Bourdelle Domaine de Luminy, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Euromed Management, Rue Antoine Bourdelle Domaine de Luminy, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Euromed Management, Rue Antoine Bourdelle Domaine de Luminy, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
    Sustainability reporting: The role of “Search”, “Experience” and “Credence” information2013In: Accounting Forum, ISSN 0155-9982, E-ISSN 1467-6303, Vol. 37, no 3, p. 231-243Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Corporate sustainability reporting quality has been frequently criticised as being unbalanced, presenting an overly positive view or failing to address material issues. The purpose of this article is to provide a fresh explanation for poor quality sustainability reporting and to propose how quality issues may be addressed. The theoretical framework combines the legitimacy and accountability perspectives using Akerlof's (1970) Market for Lemons theory. Akerlof's approach is extended by differentiating between three types of information in sustainability reports namely search, experience and credence. The article concludes that the type of information must be considered when determining measures to improve report quality.

  • 9.
    Figge, Frank
    School of the Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
    Bio-folio: applying portfolio theory to biodiversity2004In: Biodiversity and Conservation, ISSN 0960-3115, E-ISSN 1572-9710, Vol. 13, p. 827-849Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Genes, species and ecosystems are often considered to be assets. The need to ensure a sufficient diversity of this asset is being increasingly recognised today. Asset managers in banks and insurance companies face a similar challenge. They are asked to manage the assets of their investors by constructing efficient portfolios. They deliberately make use of a phenomenon observed in the formation of portfolios: returns are additive, while risks diversify. This phenomenon and its implications are at the heart of portfolio theory. Portfolio theory, like few other economic theories, has dramatically transformed the practical work of banks and insurance companies. Before portfolio theory was developed about 50 years ago, asset managers were confronted with a situation similar to the situation the research on biodiversity faces today. While the need for diversification was generally accepted, a concept that linked risk and return on a portfolio level and showed the value of diversification was missing. Portfolio theory has closed this gap. This article first explains the fundamentals of portfolio theory and transfers it to biodiversity. A large part of this article is then dedicated to some of the implications portfolio theory has for the valuation and management of biodiversity. The last section introduces three development openings for further research.

  • 10.
    Figge, Frank
    University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment, Leeds, UK.
    Value-based environmental management. From environmental shareholder value to environmental option value2005In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 19-30Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Whether and how environmental management can create enterprise value is intensively debated. There are a number of concepts that aim to link environmental management and enterprise value. These concepts are usually based on net present value approaches such as Rappaport's (1986) shareholder value model. What is usually overlooked is that environmental management based on net present value concepts risks making companies (eco-)efficient but vulnerable to environmental and social shocks. This article introduces the environmental option value concept as a compliment to concepts such as environmental shareholder value. As this article shows, creating environmental option value creates flexibility that allows companies to be shielded from the detrimental effects of possible future environmental and social shocks. In combination the two approaches can help environmental management to contribute to creating long-term enterprise value. 

  • 11.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE). ESCP Business School, Paris, France.
    Dimitrov, Stanko
    Schlosser, Rainer
    Chenavaz, Régis
    Does the circular economy fuel the throwaway society? The role of opportunity costs for products that lose value over time2022In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 368, article id 133207Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The efficient use of natural resources is considered a necessary condition for their sustainable use. Extending the lifetime of products and using resources circularly are two popular strategies to increase the efficiency of resource use. Both strategies are usually assumed to contribute to the eco-efficiency of resource use independently. We argue that a move to a circular economy creates opportunity costs for consumers holding on to their products, due to the resource embedded in the product. Assuming rational consumers, we develop a model that determines optimal replacement times for products subject to minimizing average costs over time. We find that in a perfectly circular economy, consumers are incentivized to discard their products more quickly than in a perfectly linear economy. A direct consequence of our finding is that extending product use is in direct conflict with closing resource loops in the circular economy. We identify the salvage value of discarded products and technical progress as two factors that determine the impact that closing resource loops has on the duration of product use. The article highlights the risk that closing resource loops and moving to a more circular economy incentivizes more unsustainable behavior.

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  • 12.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Givry, Philippe
    Canning, Louise
    Franklin-Johnson, Elizabeth
    Thorpe, Andrea
    Eco-efficiency of Virgin Resources: A Measure at the Interface Between Micro and Macro Levels2017In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 138, p. 12-21Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Eco-efficiency is often considered an adequate response to the problem of the scarcity of non-renewable resources. Even if a more eco-efficient use of natural resources cannot guarantee lower resource consumption, it can allow a better combination of desirable economic activity with undesirable resource use. However, more eco-efficient use of resources at the micro-level does not always lead to higher eco-efficiency at the macro-level. This is due to resource flows between actors at the micro-level. They use both virgin resources and resources that have been previously used. Virgin resources represent the relevant scarcity at the macro-level, while eco-efficiency at the micro-level typically does not discriminate between virgin and used resources. We develop an eco-efficiency formula that closes this gap. Our formula not only allows the measurement of the eco-efficiency of virgin resource use at the micro-level, but also helps to identify the drivers of the eco-efficiency of virgin resource use. Application of the formula to the case of gold in smartphones points to the very limited potential of technical improvements and shows that behavioural and collaborative endeavours promise dramatically higher improvements in eco-efficiency. This calls for a reconsideration of the focus of efforts to increase eco-efficiency for sustainable development.

  • 13.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School Marseille, Domaine de Luminy, BP 921, 13288, Marseille Cedex 9, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Universitat Ramon Llull, Esade Business School Barcelona, Avenida de Torreblanca, 59, 08172, Sant Cugat, Spain.
    Business- and environment-related drivers of firms' return on natural resources: A configurational approach2021In: Long range planning, ISSN 0024-6301, E-ISSN 1873-1872, Vol. 54, no 4, article id 102066Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The sustainability challenges society faces call for firms to manage their use of natural resources wisely. Prior work on firm responses to sustainability challenges has largely focused on explaining and enhancing economic rather than environmental performance. We build on recent developments to extend resource dependence theory to include natural resources and seek to explain how business- and environment-related firm activities influence the use of natural resources. Using a configurational approach, we develop a conceptual model that explains the return on natural resources of firms based on four distinct sets of business- and environment-related comparative advantages. An illustrative application to the car-manufacturing sector demonstrates the practical applicability of our model and provides first insights into configurations we are likely to observe in practice. Our model and its application show that economic success is neither necessary nor sufficient to enhance a firm's return on natural resources.

  • 14.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Euromed Management, Marseille, France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Is green and profitable sustainable? Assessing the trade-off between economic and environmental aspects2012In: International Journal of Production Economics, ISSN 0925-5273, E-ISSN 1873-7579, Vol. 140, no 1, p. 92-102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Businesses are more and more confronted with demands to play an active role to reduce environmental burdens effectively and to help to achieve environmental sustainability. We question the suitability of the green business case and argue that corporate environmental strategies need to aim at the creation of environmental value alongside economic value rather than the creation of economic value through environmental management. Three shortcomings of the green business case limit its usefulness to develop suitable corporate sustainability strategies. We contrast the green business case with an opportunity cost based approach for assessing the environmental performance of firms. Our argument is then applied to an integrated analysis of the financial, carbon and VOC-performance of 16 major car manufacturers worldwide to illustrate how companies respond to the twofold scarcity of economic capital and natural resources as well as the role of proactive technology choices in this context. Our analysis shows how firms can go beyond the standard green business case that ultimately limits environmental strategies to increasing capital efficiency. We argue that by applying the well established notion of opportunity costs to the assessment of environmental resources besides economic capital, companies can identify strategies that create economic and environmental value and help to maximise the contribution to sustainability rather than to economic capital efficiency alone.

  • 15.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Queen's University Management School, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Not measuring sustainable value at all: A response to Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen2009In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 69, no 2, p. 244-249Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In their article in this issue of Ecological Economics, Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen [Kuosmanen, T. and Kuosmanen, N., this issue. How Not to Measure Sustainable Value (and How One Might). Ecological Economics.] aim to criticise the measurement of Sustainable Value as proposed in our previous research. By adopting a production perspective and based on a productive efficiency analysis, they claim that the proposed way of measuring Sustainable Value represents an invalid simplification that rests on restrictive and unrealistic assumptions. Our response is to show that their argument rests on a fundamental misspecification of the Sustainable Value approach. We identify three conceptual misfits: a mismatch in the perspective of the analysis, a misspecification of opportunity costs and the irrelevance of production functions. Ultimately, Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen's train of thought rests entirely within the realm of productive efficiency analysis, whereas Sustainable Value builds on the foundations of financial economics and consequently adopts a macro rather than a firm perspective. It is thus not surprising that the findings of Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen appear to contradict the Sustainable Value approach. However, this is due to their fundamental misspecification of the Sustainable Value approach. As a result, rather than providing novel insights into how Sustainable Value might be measured in a better way, they do not measure Sustainable Value at all.

  • 16.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. a School of the Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Sustainable Value Added - measuring corporate contributions to sustainability beyond eco-efficiency2004In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 48, no 2, p. 173-187Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper proposes a new approach to measure corporate contributions to sustainability called Sustainable Value Added. Value is created whenever benefits exceed costs. Current approaches to measure corporate sustainable performance take into account external costs caused by environmental and social damage or focus on the ratio between value creation and resource consumption. As this paper will show it is more promising to develop sustainable measures based on opportunity costs. Sustainable Value Added is such a measure. It shows how much more value is created because a company is more efficient than a benchmark and because the resources are allocated to the company and not to benchmark companies. The concept of strong sustainability requires that each form of capital is kept constant. As Sustainable Value Added is inspired by strong sustainability, it measures whether a company creates extra value while ensuring that every environmental and social impact is in total constant. Therefore, it takes into account both, corporate eco- and social efficiency as well as the absolute level of environmental and social resource consumption (eco- and social effectiveness). As a result, Sustainable Value Added considers simultaneously economic, environmental and social aspects. The overall result can be expressed in any of the three dimensions of sustainability.

  • 17.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School, Domaine de Luminy – BP 921, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    KEDGE Business School, Domaine de Luminy – BP 921, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Value drivers of corporate eco-efficiency: Management accounting information for the efficient use of environmental resources2013In: Management Accounting Research, ISSN 1044-5005, E-ISSN 1096-1224, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 387-400Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Eco-efficiency is oftentimes considered the gold standard for managerial decision making in an environmental context because it seemingly reconciles the efficient use of capital and the efficient use of environmental resources. We challenge this view by disaggregating eco-efficiency to provide an in-depth analysis of corporate eco-efficiency and to identify the drivers of an efficient use of environmental resources. By building on the value-based approach in financial management, we extend the rationale of economic value drivers to develop drivers for the efficient use of environmental resources. We apply this logic to analyze the carbon-efficiency of major car manufacturers worldwide. The analysis clarifies the conceptual relationship between the use of economic and environmental resources by firms. The analysis shows that the drivers of capital efficiency and eco-efficiency are not fully congruent. These findings underpin critical voices that question the supposedly unproblematic link between corporate eco-efficiency and economic value creation. We illustrate that the efficient use of environmental resources is complementary rather than instrumental to capital efficiency. Consequently, the challenge of managing eco-efficiency is to unshackle it from the current capital-oriented domination. The findings provide managerial guidance on the value-creating use of environmental and economic resources. Conceptually, our argument contributes to the debate between critical and managerial perspectives on environmental accounting and helps to address the current standoff between these two camps.

  • 18.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Value‐oriented impact assessment: the economics of a new approach to impact assessment2004In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, ISSN 0964-0568, E-ISSN 1360-0559, Vol. 47, no 6, p. 921-941Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Environmental Impact Assessment has gained a prominent position as a tool to evaluate the environmental effects of economic activities. However, all approaches proposed so far use a burden‐oriented logic. They concentrate on the different environmental impacts in order to ascertain the overall environmental damage caused by economic activity. This paper argues that such a burden‐oriented view is (a) hampered by a series of methodological shortcomings which hinders its widespread use in practice; and (b) is analytically incomplete. The paper proposes a value‐oriented approach to impact assessment. For this purpose an economic analysis of the optimal use of environmental and social resources is conducted from both a burden‐oriented and a value‐oriented standpoint. The basic logic of a value‐oriented impact assessment is explained, as well as the resulting economic conditions for an optimal use of resources. In addition, it is shown that value‐ and burden‐oriented approaches are complementary to achieve optimality. Finally, the paper discusses the conditions under which the use of burden‐ or value‐oriented impact assessments is appropriate, respectively.

  • 19.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School, Marseille, France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    The If, How and Where of assessing sustainable resource use2014In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 105, p. 274-283Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In today's economies those who sustain the burden of resource use, those using resources and those providing resources are not necessarily identical. With this separation come three fundamental but interrelated decision-making perspectives on the sustainability assessment of resource use. These three perspectives correspond to the three assessment questions if, how, and where resources should be used. Most sustainability assessment approaches do not make their underlying assessment perspectives explicit. The goal of this paper is to provide structure and organisation to existing approaches. This structuring suggests that any discussion on the appropriateness and validity of different assessment approaches and their results must take into account the underlying assessment perspective. The three questions if, how, and where resources should be used correspond to the requirements of a sustainable resource use. While existing assessments do address the three questions in isolation, it is all the more important that the limitations and implications of focusing on a single perspective are spelled out. As the main contribution, the paper distinguishes the rationale of each assessment perspective and develops on their interlinkages and thus provides the context and structure for a more informed and fruitful debate on the assessment of sustainable resource use.

  • 20.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Centre for Sustainability Management, University of Luneburg, Germany.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Schaltegger, Stefan
    Wagner, Marcus
    The Sustainability Balanced Scorecard - linking sustainability management to business strategy2002In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 11, no 5, p. 269-284Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Balanced Scorecard of Kaplan and Norton is a management tool that supports the successful implementation of corporate strategies. It has been discussed and considered widely in both practice and research. By linking operational and non-financial corporate activities with causal chains to the firm's long-term strategy, the Balanced Scorecard supports the alignment and management of all corporate activities according to their strategic relevance. The Balanced Scorecard makes it possible to take into account non-monetary strategic success factors that significantly impact the economic success of a business. The Balanced Scorecard is thus a promising starting-point to also incorporate environmental and social aspects into the main management system of a firm. Sustainability management with the Balanced Scorecard helps to overcome the shortcomings of conventional approaches to environmental and social management systems by integrating the three pillars of sustainability into a single and overarching strategic management tool. After a brief discussion of the different possible forms of a Sustainability Balanced Scorecard the article takes a closer look at the process and steps of formulating a Sustainability Balanced Scorecard for a business unit. Before doing so, the basic conventional approach of the Balanced Scorecard and its suitability for sustainability management will be outlined in brief. 

  • 21.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Stevenson Thorpe, Andrea
    Good, Jason
    Us before me: A group level approach to the circular economy2021In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 179, article id 106838Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A more efficient use of natural resources is considered a necessary condition for their sustainable use. When firms use resources circularly they aim to contribute to using resources more eco-efficiently, and thus in a more sustainable way than when adopting more linear systems. Eco-efficiency in linear systems can be determined by aggregating each individual instance of resource use. However, in circular systems this approach is problematic, as it cannot capture the dynamics of resource use that unfurl between firms that contribute to eco-efficiency. In other words, we argue that in circular systems, eco-efficiency overall is more than the sum of the eco-efficiencies of individual firms. Moreover, we counterintuitively suggest that within circular economy systems, selecting only highly eco-efficient firms can actually reduce rather than increase the degree of eco-efficiency overall. Using a lens of multi-level selection theory, we build our argument through a series of numerical examples, and in conclusion show how the assessment and management of resources must be moved from the individual to the group level.

  • 22.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. ESCP Business School, Paris, France.
    Thorpe, Andrea
    Circular economy, operational eco-efficiency, and sufficiency: An integrated view2023In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 204, no Part B, article id 107692Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Researchers have proposed different approaches to reduce the use of natural resources to a sustainable level. Operational eco-efficiency, circular economy, and sufficiency are three prominent examples that follow their own specific logics. So far, these approaches have been almost exclusively discussed in isolation, with the assumption that they are independent of each other. This paper brings all three approaches together in one coherent model. Our model shows that individually each approach can reduce the use of natural resources to a sustainable level. Yet, our model also reveals how various effects arise as a direct result of combining approaches, i.e. one approach affects another when executed in tandem. Our model identifies operational eco-efficiency and circular economy as ‘no regret’ approaches, while sufficiency constitutes a ‘regret’ approach. By way of example, we show that increasing operational eco-efficiency increases the costs or ‘regret’ of sufficiency approaches, reducing their effectiveness. Sufficiency approaches and increasing operational eco-efficiency risk interfering with the careful balance that is required for optimal circularity. We find that these interactions must be carefully considered if the three approaches are to be effective in reducing resource consumption to a sustainable level.

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  • 23.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. ESCP Business School, 79 Avenue de la R ́epublique, Paris, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Thorpe, Andrea
    Kedge Business School (Marseille), Domaine de Luminy – BP 921, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
    Gutberlet, Melissa
    Kedge Business School (Bordeaux), 680 Cours Lib ́eration, 33405, Talence, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Definitions of the circular economy: Circularity matters2023In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 208, article id 107823Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With more than 4,000 research articles in 2022 the Circular Economy is clearly a topic that meets academic interest. With resource use at an all-time, unsustainable peak it is also a topic that raises great expectations: We need the circular economy. The great hopes that we all have are further fueled by the definitions of the circular economy that we find in the literature. Put colloquially, many of these definitions depict the circular economy as a “jack of all trades”. Some definitions include waste management while others are even synonymous with sustainable development. Attempts to summarize existing definitions into one result in definitions that blur the lines between the circular economy and other concepts even further. To empower the circular use of resources we need to understand what the circular economy really is and how it relates to related concepts. The role of definitions is to draw rather than blur lines. This is where many definitions fail. In our short article “Definitions of the Circular Economy: Circularity Matters”, we develop some conditions that good definitions must meet. By way of example, we apply these conditions to a popular definition that we found in the literature and we identify some of the shortcomings of existing definitions. We develop four conditions that we believe good definitions of the circular economy must meet. Good definitions of the circular economy must (1) refer to closing resource loops, (2) mention optimizing rather than minimizing resource flows, (3) consider at least two levels, and (4) distinguish between the circular economy as a perfect ideal type and a realistic imperfect circular economy that delivers sustainability in combination with other approaches. In this short paper, we propose a definition that meets all four conditions. We see the definition we propose neither as the start nor as the end of the discussion on how to define the circular economy. We see it as a mid-way point and as an invitation to researchers to join a discussion that we believe is necessary to leverage the potential that the circular economy can have for the sustainable development of all.

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  • 24. Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Thorpe, Andrea Stevenson
    The symbiotic rebound effect in the circular economy2019In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 163, p. 61-69Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The circular economy has emerged as an important approach in addressing how society can use its resources more efficiently. Theoretical advancements in the circular economy have yielded benefits for both practice and policymaking. However, if the eco-efficiency of resource use is to be improved, then certain challenges that face the circular economy must be resolved. One of these challenges concerns the rebound effect. By investigating resource flow with a circular (rather than linear) system, as well as within a producer-producer (rather than producer-consumer) type of relationship, we identify a rebound effect that we term ‘symbiotic rebound’. We differentiate it from other forms of rebound effect on the basis of its main driver: Opportunity costs drive a higher than expected use of resources in a circular economy, rather than the usual driver of ‘demand’, as found in other types of rebound. In identifying, describing, and illustrating a symbiotic rebound effect, we make two contributions: first to the rebound literature, and second to theory development on the circular economy.

  • 25.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Thorpe, Andrea Stevenson
    Givry, Philippe
    Canning, Louise
    Franklin-Johnson, Elizabeth
    Longevity and Circularity as Indicators of Eco-Efficient Resource Use in the Circular Economy2018In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 150, p. 297-306Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Natural resources are limited. The circular economy is one of several different concepts that has been useful in the quest to understand how resources can be used most efficiently. It proposes that closing loops and repeatedly using resources has the potential to procure maximum eco-efficiency. To track society's progress towards a circular economy, indicators and measures are needed. The majority of these aim to capture the circularity of resource flows, yet fail to simultaneously consider the length of time for which a resource is in use. More recently, a longevity indicator has been proposed, but similarly, it fails to take into account how many times a resource is used. Both longevity and circularity are needed for sustainable resource use, but to date, no measure that combines both approaches is in use. Based on existing measures we develop and further develop indicators for both circularity and longevity that focus on the contribution that organisations and other resource users make to the sustainability of resource use. By combining both indicators we enhance their explanatory power.

  • 26.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE). ESCP Business School, Paris, France.
    Thorpe, Andrea Stevenson
    Manzhynski, Siarhei
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Between you and I: A portfolio theory of the circular economy2021In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 190, article id 107190Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    By using resources more circularly, individual resources users hope to contribute to a more eco-efficient and sustainable resource use. Whether resources are used sustainably is decided at the macro-level, raising the question if, as well as how, the efficient and circular use of resources at the micro-level adds up to their efficient and circular use on the macro-level. Currently, the link between the circular use of resources at micro- and macro-levels is under-theorized. The symbiotic relationship between individual resource users enables a reduction in the resource use at the macro-level. In this conceptual paper, we argue that an analogous link exists in finance where desirable investment return is linked to undesirable investment risk, and that via the generation of efficient portfolios, individual risks are at least partially diversified away. As our main contribution, we theorize the circular economy, both in its perfect and imperfect forms, using modern portfolio theory. Our theory identifies the drivers of circular resource use and shows under which conditions individual resource use contributes to the circular use of resources.

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  • 27.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Statistics. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Economics. ESCP Business School, Paris, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Thorpe, Andrea Stevenson
    Kedge Business School, Marseille Cedex, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Manzhynski, Siarhei
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Economics. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Statistics.
    Value creation and the circular economy: a tale of three externalities2022In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 1690-1700Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    By using resources more efficiently, resource users help to overcome the inherent resource scarcity on “spaceship earth.” One strategy in this context is to close resource loops and to use resources circularly. With fewer resources wasted, a more circular use of resources should also increase the efficiency of resource use and create more value. However, when resource users aim for a greater degree of efficiency, inadvertently they might contribute to resources being used less rather than more circularly and, consequently, less instead of more efficiently. We show how to assess the value that is created by the efficient use of resources for the case of linear and circular resource use. This allows us to identify three distinct types of positive externalities related to the circular use of resources: (1) systemic static externalities; (2) idiosyncratic dynamic externalities; and (3) systemic dynamic externalities. We describe how the value created by these externalities can be assessed and argue that they need to be considered when evaluating environmental resource use.

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  • 28.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. Sustainability Department, ESCP Business School, Paris, France.
    Thorpe, Andrea Stevenson
    Domaine de Luminy, Kedge Business School (Marseille), Marseille, France; Macquarie Business School, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    Manzhynski, Siarhei
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Gutberlet, Melissa
    Kedge Business School (Bordeaux), Talence, France.
    The us in reUSe: Theorizing the how and why of the circular economy2022In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 31, no 6, p. 2741-2753Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite considerable interest into circular economy, it remains undertheorized and underdeveloped. In response, this article advances circular economy by drawing on two theories to explain how firms can increase the circularity of resource use and why they are incentivized to do so. We refer to Modern Portfolio Theory to link the resource use of individual companies to the resource use of a group of firms. In doing so, we show how—and under which conditions—resource use decreases when circulated at the group level. We then refer to principles from evolutionary biology to explain why it is beneficial to structure resource flows at the group level, even when the resource-reducing effect might not materialize for individual firms. In combining both perspectives we challenge entrenched ways of “doing” circular economy: We offer an integrated theoretical approach that helps inform managers' decision-making on circular resource use in practice.

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  • 29.
    Figge, Frank
    et al.
    Kedge Business School, Domaine de Luminy, France.
    Young, William
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    Sufficiency or efficiency to achieve lower resource consumption and emissions?: The role of the rebound effect2014In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 69, p. 216-224Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A frequent criticism of eco-efficiency strategies is that an increase in efficiency can be offset by the rebound effect. Sufficiency is discussed as a new strategy involving self-imposed restriction of consumption but can also be subject to the rebound effect. We show that the range of possible secondary effects of efficiency and sufficiency strategies goes beyond the rebound effect. The rebound effect can indeed also be linked to eco-sufficiency strategies but there are further secondary effects of both eco-efficiency and eco-sufficiency strategies, such as double dividend effects. We develop an ‘Eco-efficiency-sufficiency matrix’ to logically order eco-efficiency and sufficiency measures to attain lower resource consumption and emissions.

  • 30. Franklin-Johnson, Elizabeth
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Canning, Louise
    Resource duration as a managerial indicator for Circular Economy performance2016In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 133, p. 589-598Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper provides a new indicator for environmental assessment performance linked to Circular Economy. Almost all existing techniques evaluate resource use based on their burden relative to value, while the central point of Circular Economy is to create value through material retention. The existing burden-orientated techniques are therefore unsuitable for guiding managers in relation to Circular Economy objectives. This paper presents a new performance metric, the longevity indicator, which measures contribution to material retention based on the amount of time a resource is kept in use. The measure is composed of three generic components: initial lifetime, earned refurbished lifetime and earned recycled lifetime. Management of these components can be used for decision making and performance assessment in the Circular Economy. The example of precious metals in mobile phone handsets is used to illustrate the general application and suitability of this indicator. Findings show that for materials to be retained, managers should encourage longer lifetime use, increase product return levels for initial use and refurbished phones, and select the most effective recycling processes available. This paper advances performance indicators for Circular Economy, and provides a tool which can be applied at managerial and organizational levels to measure the impact of business decisions on the longevity of precious materials.

  • 31. Fraser, Evan D.G.
    et al.
    Mabee, Warren
    Figge, Frank
    Leeds Institute for Environmental Science and Management, School of the Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
    A framework for assessing the vulnerability of food systems to future shocks2005In: Futures: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies, ISSN 0016-3287, E-ISSN 1873-6378, Vol. 37, no 6, p. 465-479Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Modern society depends on complex agro-ecological and trading systems to provide food for urban residents, yet there are few tools available to assess whether these systems are vulnerable to future disturbances. We propose a preliminary framework to assess the vulnerability of food systems to future shocks based on landscape ecology's ‘Panarchy Framework’. According to Panarchy, ecosystem vulnerability is determined by three generic characteristics: (1) the wealth available in the system, (2) how connected the system is, and (3) how much diversity exists in the system. In this framework, wealthy, non-diverse, tightly connected systems are highly vulnerable. The wealth of food systems can be measured using the approach pioneered by development economists to assess how poverty affects food security. Diversity can be measured using the tools investors use to measure the diversity of investment portfolios to assess financial risk. The connectivity of a system can be evaluated with the tools chemists use to assess the pathways chemicals use to flow through the environment. This approach can lead to better tools for creating policy designed to reduce vulnerability, and can help urban or regional planners identify where food systems are vulnerable to shocks and disturbances that may occur in the future.

  • 32. Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Euromed Management School, Marseille, France.
    Beyond the Bounded Instrumentality in Current Corporate Sustainability Research: Toward an Inclusive Notion of Profitability2011In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 104, no 3, p. 325-345Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We argue that the majority of the current approaches in research on corporate sustainability are inconsistent with the notion of sustainable development. By defining the notion of instrumentality in the context of corporate sustainability through three conceptual principles we show that current approaches are rooted in a bounded notion of instrumentality which establishes a systematic a priori predominance of economic organizational outcomes over environmental and social aspects. We propose an inclusive notion of profitability that reflects the return on all forms of environmental, social, and economic capital used by a firm. This inclusive notion of corporate profitability helps to redefine corporate profitability as if sustainability matters in that it overcomes the bounded instrumentality that impairs current research on corporate sustainability. We apply this notion to different car manufacturers and develop conceptual implications for future research on corporate sustainability.

  • 33.
    Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Why Architecture Does Not Matter: On the Fallacy of Sustainability Balanced Scorecards2018In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 150, no 4, p. 919-935Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In a recent review article published in this journal, Hansen and Schaltegger discuss the architecture of sustainability balanced scorecards (SBSC). They link the architecture of SBSCs to the maturity of the value system of a firm as well as to the proactiveness of a firm’s sustainability strategy. We contend that this argument is flawed and that the architecture of SBSC does not matter since—irrespective of their architecture—SBSCs are ill-suited to achieve substantive corporate contributions to sustainability. First, we assess the SBSC against three fundamental conditions for an effective management of corporate sustainability—the generation of positive outcomes at the societal level, the consideration of complexities and tensions, and the integration of heterogeneous and competing logics—to show that the SBSC is diametrically opposed to the complex and multi-facetted nature of corporate sustainability and ill-suited to achieve transformational change of for-profit organisations towards sustainability. Second, we address the question whether architecture of the SBSC matters and find that it is a fallacy to believe that the architecture of SBSCs can address this fundamental misfit. Rather, our argument reveals that irrespective of its architecture the SBSC is not a suitable tool for achieving strategic change for sustainability beyond incrementalism because it is deeply rooted in the idea of aligning sustainability with established core business routines. We propose that the emerging integrative view on corporate sustainability offers a more promising route for scholars and practitioners who are truly concerned with a deep transformation of private firms towards more sustainability.

  • 34.
    Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School, Marseille, France.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School, Marseille, France.
    Aragón-Correa, J. Alberto
    University of Surrey, Guildford, UK;University of Granada, Spain.
    Sharma, Sanjay
    University of Vermont, Burlington, USA.
    Advancing Research on Corporate Sustainability: Off to Pastures New or Back to the Roots?2016In: Business & society, ISSN 0007-6503, E-ISSN 1552-4205, Vol. 56, no 2, p. 155-185Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the last two decades, corporate sustainability has been established as a legitimate research topic among management and organization scholars. This introductory article explores potential avenues for advances in research on corporate sustainability by readdressing some of the fundamental aspects of the sustainability debate and approaching some novel perspectives and insights from outside the corporate sustainability field. This essay also sketches out how each of the six articles of this special issue contribute to the literature by going back to some of the conceptual roots of sustainability and/or by offering novel perspectives for research on corporate sustainability. As these six articles and the outlook on future research opportunities show, broadening the inquiry of corporate sustainability in terms of topics, theories, and methodologies holds considerable potential to improve our understanding of how decision makers and organizations respond to sustainability.

  • 35.
    Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Euromed Management, Marseille, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Euromed Management, Marseille, France.
    Liesen, Andrea
    Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, UK.
    Assessing Trade-Offs in Investments for the Environment - The Case of a VOC-Reduction Investment at AUTO Group2012In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 114-128Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This case focuses on the assessment of trade-offs between different environmental features of investments. Using the example of a VOC-reduction investment at a car maker, the case applies an innovative approach for the assessment of environmental investment projects. Since it is unusual that all environmental performance characteristics of investment projects will be in harmony, decision-makers need to ascertain the overall environmental effect of different investments. This case transfers the logic of financial investment appraisal to the environmental assessment of investment projects. The analysis shows, in monetary terms, by how much each investment option outpeforms or underperforms environmental efficiency targets. With monetary figures, decision-makers can balance conflicting environmental performances and identify the investment option that supports a company's environmental strategy best. The case provides a step-by-step explanation of the assessment approach and offers students and decision makers a novel perspective on the assessment of trade-offs in environmental investments.

  • 36. Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Queen’s University Management School, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.
    Liesen, Andrea
    Barkemeyer, Ralf
    Opportunity cost based analysis of corporate eco-efficiency: A methodology and its application to the CO2-efficiency of German companies2010In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 91, no 10, p. 1997-2007Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper, we propose the return-to-cost-ratio (RCR) as an alternative approach to the analysis of operational eco-efficiency of companies based on the notion of opportunity costs. RCR helps to overcome two fundamental deficits of existing approaches to eco-efficiency. (1) It translates eco-efficiency into managerial terms by applying the well-established notion of opportunity costs to eco-efficiency analysis. (2) RCR allows to identify and quantify the drivers behind changes in corporate eco-efficiency. RCR is applied to the analysis of the CO2-efficiency of German companies in order to illustrate its usefulness for a detailed analysis of changes in corporate eco-efficiency as well as for the development of effective environmental strategies.

  • 37. Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School, Marseille, France.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    Preuss, Lutz
    A Paradox Perspective on Corporate Sustainability: Descriptive, Instrumental, and Normative Aspects2018In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 148, p. 235-248Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The last decade has witnessed the emergence of a paradox perspective on corporate sustainability. By explicitly acknowledging tensions between different desirable, yet interdependent and conflicting sustainability objectives, a paradox perspective enables decision makers to achieve competing sustainability objectives simultaneously and creates leeway for superior business contributions to sustainable development. In stark contrast to the business case logic, a paradox perspective does not establish emphasize business considerations over concerns for environmental protection and social well-being at the societal level. In order to contribute to the consolidation of this emergent field of research, we offer a definition of the paradox perspective on corporate sustainability and a framework to delineate its descriptive, instrumental, and normative aspects. This framework clarifies the paradox perspective’s contents and its implications for research and practice. We use the framework to map the contributions to this thematic symposium on paradoxes in sustainability and to propose questions for future research.

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  • 38. Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Queen’s University Management School, Queen’s University Belfast, UK.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    Preuss, Lutz
    Trade-offs in corporate sustainability: you can't have your cake and eat it2010In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 217-229Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The mainstream of the literature on corporate sustainability follows the win–win paradigm, according to which economic, environmental and social sustainability aspects can be achieved simultaneously; indeed, corporate sustainability has often been defined by the intersection of these three areas. However, given the multi-faceted and complex nature of sustainable development, we argue that trade-offs and conflicts in corporate sustainability are the rule rather than the exception. Turning a blind eye to trade-offs thus results in a limited perspective on corporate contributions to sustainable development. In order to overcome this situation, we propose an initial framework for the analysis of trade-offs in corporate sustainability. By doing so, we pursue two aims. First, the framework serves as a starting point for a more systematic analysis of trade-offs in corporate sustainability, as it identifies different levels and dimensions to characterize such trade-offs. Second, it serves to contextualize the contributions to this special issue on trade-offs in corporate sustainability. Based on the framework, we finally point to some promising avenues for future research on trade-offs in, and a more inclusive notion of, corporate sustainability. 

  • 39.
    Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School, France.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    The University of Manchester, UK.
    Preuss, Lutz
    University of East Anglia, UK.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School, France.
    Ambidexterity for Corporate Social Performance2015In: Organization Studies, ISSN 0170-8406, E-ISSN 1741-3044, Vol. 37, no 2, p. 213-235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The literature on corporate social performance advocates that firms address social issues based on instrumental as well as moral rationales. While both rationales trigger initiatives to increase corporate social performance, these rest on fundamentally different and contradicting foundations. Building on the literature on organizational ambidexterity and paradox in management, we propose in this conceptual article that ambidexterity represents an important determinant of corporate social performance. We explain how firms achieve higher levels of corporate social performance through the ambidextrous ability to simultaneously pursue instrumentally and morally driven social initiatives. We distinguish between a balance dimension and a combined dimension of ambidexterity, which both enhance corporate social performance through distinct mechanisms. With the balance dimension, instrumental and moral initiatives compensate for each other – which increases the scope of corporate social performance. With the combined dimension, instrumental and moral initiatives supplement each other – which increases the scale of corporate social performance. The article identifies the most important determinants and moderators of the balance and the combined dimension to explain the conditions under which we expect firms to increase corporate social performance through ambidexterity. By focusing on the interplay and tensions between different types of social initiatives, an ambidextrous perspective contributes to a better understanding of corporate social performance. Regarding managerial practice, we highlight the role of structural and behavioral factors for achieving higher corporate social performance through the simultaneous pursuit of instrumental and moral initiatives.

  • 40. Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    Preuss, Lutz
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Domaine de Luminy, Marseille, France.
    Tensions in Corporate Sustainability: Towards an Integrative Framework2014In: Journal of Business Ethics, ISSN 0167-4544, E-ISSN 1573-0697, Vol. 127, no 2, p. 297-316Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper proposes a systematic framework for the analysis of tensions in corporate sustainability. The framework is based on the emerging integrative view on corporate sustainability, which stresses the need for a simultaneous integration of economic, environmental and social dimensions without, a priori, emphasising one over any other. The integrative view presupposes that firms need to accept tensions in corporate sustainability and pursue different sustainability aspects simultaneously even if they seem to contradict each other. The framework proposed in this paper goes beyond the traditional triad of economic, environmental and social dimensions and argues that tensions in corporate sustainability occur between different levels, in change processes and within a temporal and spatial context. The framework provides vital groundwork for managing tensions in corporate sustainability based on paradox strategies. The paper then applies the framework to identify and characterise four selected tensions and illustrates how key approaches from the literature on strategic contradictions, tensions and paradoxes—i.e., acceptance and resolution strategies—can be used to manage these tensions. Thereby, it refines the emerging literature on the integrative view for the management of tensions in corporate sustainability. The framework also provides managers with a better understanding of tensions in corporate sustainability and enables them to embrace these tensions in their decision making.

  • 41.
    Hahn, Tobias
    et al.
    KEDGE Business School, United Kingdom.
    Preuss, Lutz
    Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    Grenoble Ecole de Management, France.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School, United Kingdom.
    Cognitive Frames in Corporate Sustainability: Managerial Sensemaking with Paradoxical and Business Case Frames2014In: Academy of Management Review, ISSN 0363-7425, E-ISSN 1930-3807, Vol. 39, no 4, p. 463-487Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Corporate sustainability confronts managers with tensions between complex economic, environmental, and social issues. Drawing on the literature on managerial cognition, corporate sustainability, and strategic paradoxes, we develop a cognitive framing perspective on corporate sustainability. We propose two cognitive frames—a business case frame and a paradoxical frame—and explore how differences between them in cognitive content and structure influence the three stages of the sensemaking process—that is, managerial scanning, interpreting, and responding with regard to sustainability issues. We explain how the two frames lead to differences in the breadth and depth of scanning, differences in issue interpretations in terms of sense of control and issue valence, and different types of responses that managers consider with regard to sustainability issues. By considering alternative cognitive frames, our argument contributes to a better understanding of managerial decision making regarding ambiguous sustainability issues, and it develops the underlying cognitive determinants of the stance that managers adopt on sustainability issues. This argument offers a cognitive explanation for why managers rarely push for radical change when faced with complex and ambiguous issues, such as sustainability, that are characterized by conflicting yet interrelated aspects.

  • 42. Liesen, Andrea
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Euromed Management School, Marseille, France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Net Present Sustainable Value: A New Approach to Sustainable Investment Appraisal2013In: Strategic Change, ISSN 1086-1718, E-ISSN 1099-1697, Vol. 22, no 3-4, p. 175-189Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of 'net present sustainable value' is introduced as a new strategic tool for sustainable investment appraisal, which extends the traditional net present value approach to include resources other than capital. The proposed approach examines if the present value of the future returns which can be anticipated from using environmental and social resources are in line with a company’s strategic targets. The application of the new tool is described in detail and illustrated through various practical examples.

  • 43.
    Liesen, Andrea
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Marseille, France.
    Hoepner, Andreas
    Patten, Dennis M.
    Climate Change and Asset Prices: Are Corporate Carbon Disclosure and Performance Priced Appropriately?2017In: Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, ISSN 0306-686X, E-ISSN 1468-5957, Vol. 44, no 1-2, p. 35-62Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper empirically assesses the relevance of information on corporate climate change disclosure and performance to asset prices, and discusses whether this information is priced appropriately. Findings indicate that corporate disclosures of quantitative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, to a lesser extent, carbon performance are value relevant. We use hand-collected information on quantitative GHG emissions for 433 European companies and build portfolios based on GHG disclosure and performance. We regress portfolios on a standard four factor model extended for industry effects over the years 2005 to 2009. Results show that investors achieved abnormal risk-adjusted returns of up to 13.05% annually by exploiting inefficiently priced positive effects of (complete) GHG emissions disclosure and good corporate climate change performance in terms of GHG efficiency. Results imply that, firstly, information costs involved in carbon disclosure and management do not present a burden on corporate financial resources. Secondly, investors should not neglect carbon disclosure and performance when making investment decisions. Thirdly, during the period analysed, financial markets were inefficient in pricing publicly available information on carbon disclosure and performance. Mandatory and standardised information on carbon performance would consequently not only increase market efficiency but result in better allocation of capital within the real economy.

  • 44.
    Manzhynski, Siarhei
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School, Strategy Department, Marseille, France; Macquarie University,Centre for Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Finance, Sydney, Australia.
    Coopetition for sustainability: Between organizational benefit and societal good2020In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 29, p. 827-837Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainable development requires coopetition, that is, the cooperation of organiza-tions that compete at the same time. Research on coopetition for sustainability issparse. From a sustainability perspective, coopetition contributes to sustainabilitywhen it makes a positive contribution on the societal level. Existing research oncoopetition however focuses on organizational outcomes. In this paper, we link orga-nizational and societal outcomes of coopetition. We show that for the simple case oftwo coopting firms and an economic and an environmental dimension, there are 51different combinations that make a positive contribution to sustainability. All butone of these combinations consist of a mix of positive and negative outcomes. Weidentify four types of trade‐offs that can occur in coopetition for sustainability andthat point to different pathways of achieving sustainability.

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  • 45.
    Manzhynski, Siarhei
    et al.
    Belarussian State Technological University.
    Figge, Frank
    Kedge Business School.
    Hassel, Lars G
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Sustainable value creation of nine countries of the Baltic region: value, changes and drivers2015In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 108, p. 637-646Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Baltic region comprises countries of great diversity. They have in common that they all face the challenge to combine a sound economic development with the stewardship for their environmental, social and economic resources. Using the Sustainable Value approach we first analyse their overall sustainability performance. We then further develop the value drivers of Sustainable Value to enhance the explanatory power of our analysis. We find that there are significant differences between countries. We show both conceptually and using our examples that there is no unambiguous link between economic growth, environmental and social stewardship and the efficient use of resources.

  • 46.
    Martinez, Fabien
    et al.
    EM Normandie Business School, Métis Lab, Paris, France.
    Figge, Frank
    Sustainability Department, ESCP Business School, Paris, France.
    Castellano, Sylvaine
    EM Normandie Business School, Métis Lab, Paris, France.
    Chakraborty, Atreya
    University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
    Silva‐Gao, Lucia
    University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
    How did corporate responses to the Covid‐19 pandemic correspond with CSR?2023In: Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility, ISSN 2694-6416, Vol. 32, no S3, p. 161-165Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This editorial of the special issue addresses the question of whether/how responses to the Covid-19 pandemic cor- responded with authentic CSR. The literature on CSR has tended to endorse a business-centric perspective and its inherent focus on the search for alignments between CSR activities and the economic/financial interests of the firm. The Covid-19 pandemic has put this perspective to the test, pushing many companies to engage in distinctively more genuine and authentic CSR and/or demonstrating the importance of prior CSR engagement in facilitating crisis management. The papers included in the special issue appear to converge on the idea that firms combin- ing evidence of both pre-crisis engagement in CSR and strong CSR performance during the crisis (demonstrated through the deployment of various CSR assets and re- sources, including certified reporting, social marketing, individual engagement, resilience, legitimacy, trust) have coped better. This provides interested researchers with an opportunity to appreciate the value of CSR during a crisis.

  • 47.
    Neugebauer, Friederike
    et al.
    Faculty of Business and Economics; University of Kassel; Kassel Germany.
    Figge, Frank
    KEDGE Business School; Marseille France.
    Hahn, Tobias
    KEDGE Business School; Marseille France.
    Planned or Emergent Strategy Making?: Exploring the Formation of Corporate Sustainability Strategies2015In: Business Strategy and the Environment, ISSN 0964-4733, E-ISSN 1099-0836, Vol. 25, no 5, p. 323-336Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In strategy research, there is a consensus that strategy making resides on a continuum from planned to emergent where most strategies are made in a mixed way. Different contingency factors have been suggested to explain the factors that influence strategy making. Sustainability research seems to overlook most of this development and assumes instead that sustainability strategies are made in a purely planned way. We contribute to a better understanding of the role of different strategy making modes for sustainability in three ways. First, we point to the bias towards planned strategy formation in sustainability research. Second, we propose a new contingency factor to help explain sustainability strategy making based on the nature of the problem addressed. Third, we discuss strategy making for different types of sustainability problems. We argue that planned strategy making is expected for salient and non-wicked problems while emergent strategy making is likely for non-salient and wicked problems.

  • 48.
    Pinkse, Jonatan
    et al.
    Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.
    Hahn, Tobias
    Ramon Llull University, ESADE Business School, Barcelona The University of Sydney.
    Figge, Frank
    Macquarie University.
    Supersized Tensions and Slim Responses? The Discursive Construction of Strategic Tensions Around Social Issues2019In: Academy of Management Discoveries, E-ISSN 2168-1007, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 314-340Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Companies producing and marketing processed high-fat high-sugar food and drinks face a strategic tension between their core business and the social issue of obesity. For these companies, the social issue of obesity constitutes a strategic social–business tension. We conduct a qualitative study of the print media coverage on the public debate around obesity to analyze how companies discursively respond to strategic tensions around this widely salient issue. We identify the accepting-defensive approach to strategic social–business tensions that companies use to protect the autonomy over their core business vis-à-vis pressures and demands from the public debate around obesity. We unearth the two discursive mechanisms—choice of discursive tactics and construction of tensions—that underlie this accepting-defensive approach. In contrast to what the literature on organizational tensions suggests, corporate responses to strategic tensions go beyond the dichotomy of accepting-constructive and rejecting-defensive responses. We offer a better understanding of the discursive mechanisms that companies use to maintain autonomy when facing strategic tensions around widely salient social issues.

  • 49. Thorpe, Andrea
    et al.
    Figge, Frank
    Climate change and globalisation as ‘Double Exposure’: Implications for policy development2018In: Environmental Science and Policy, ISSN 1462-9011, E-ISSN 1873-6416, Vol. 90, p. 54-64Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As a central reference point for policy makers, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) recognises the value of place-based studies. Yet, tenets of generalisation and replicability dominate the organisation, and influence policy development globally. There is a growing concern that these are not conducive to building effective policy interventions that adequately accommodate local needs. This study uses a living with approach to explore how change and development was experienced by a small agricultural community in the Indian Himalayas. The findings reveal ‘double exposure’ to an increasingly deficient water supply, and aspects of globalisation. The community responded by changing its work practices along gender lines, and subsequently innovating farming output. Two underpinning mechanisms enabled the changes: The preservation of men’s higher status; and the social devaluation of farming as a local profession. The value of this place-based study lies in the scope of details that capture how climate change and globalisation were manifested in this specific environment, and the characteristics of the response itself. Yet, most importantly, the nuances of the field jar with ideals of generalisation and replicability. As such, the study motivates a greater need for climate change organisations to reflect on how they might better achieve policy objectives.

1 - 49 of 49
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