Tag Archives: Sustainability

How can we combat climate change?

This is an excerpt from one of my latest contributions.

Suggested citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2022). The rationale for ISO 14001 certification: A systematic review and a cost-benefit analysis, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.2254

Source: UNFCCC.int

During the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21), one hundred ninety-six (196) countries pledged their commitment to implement environmental performance measures to reduce the effects of climate change. This conference has led to the development of the ‘Paris Agreement’ where signatories became legally bound to limit global warming to below 2°C, and possibly 1.5°C (Palea & Drogo, 2020; Secinaro, Brescia, Calandra & Saiti, 2020). They recognized the importance of averting and minimizing the environmental impact that is caused by climate change, by scaling up their efforts and support initiatives to reduce emissions, by building resilience among parties, and by promoting cooperation (Birindelli & Chiappini, 2021; Gatto, 2020).

In the aftermath of COP 21, many countries submitted their plans for climate action (these plans are also known as nationally determined contributions – NDCs), where they communicated about their tangible actions that were aimed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of rising temperatures (Fatica & Panzica, 2021; Gerged, Matthews & Elheddad, 2021).  Consequentially, intergovernmental organizations including the European Union (EU), among others, are increasingly establishing ambitious carbon neutrality goals and zero-carbon solutions to tackle climate change issues (Benz, Paulus, Scherer, Syryca & Trück, 2021).

Many countries are incentivizing businesses across different economic sectors, to reduce their emissions. For example, the EU member states are expected to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40% before 2030, and by 60% prior to 2050 (EU, 2019). These targets would require the commitment of stakeholders from various sectors including those operating within the energy and transportation industries, among others.

The latest climate change conference (COP26) suggested that progress has been made on the signatories’ mitigation measures that were aimed to reduce emissions, on their adaptation efforts to deal with climate change impacts, on the mobilization of finance, and on the increased collaboration among countries to reach 2030 emissions targets. However, more concerted efforts are required to deliver on these four pledges (UNFCC, 2021).

This contribution raises awareness on the use of environmental management standards that are intended to support organizations of different types and sizes, including private entities, not-for-profits as well as governmental agencies, to improve their environmental performance credentials. A thorough review of the relevant literature suggests that, over the years many practitioners have utilized the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 environment management systems standard to assist them in their environmental management issues (Baek, 2018; Delmas & Toffel, 2008; Erauskin‐Tolosa, Zubeltzu‐Jaka, Heras‐Saizarbitoria & Boiral, 2020; Melnyk, Sroufe & Calantone, 2003).

Many academic commentators noted that several practitioners operating in different industry sectors, in various contexts, are implementing ISO 14001 requirements to obtain this standard’s certification (Boiral, Guillaumie, Heras‐Saizarbitoria & Tayo Tene, 2018; Para‐González & Mascaraque‐Ramírez, 2019; Riaz, & Saeed, 2020). Whilst several researchers contended about the benefits of abiding by voluntary principles and guidelines (Camilleri, 2018), others discussed about the main obstacles to obtaining impartial audits, assurances and certifications from independent standard setters (Hillary, 2004; Ma, Liu, Appolloni & Liu, 2021; Robèrt, Schmidt-Bleek, Aloisi De Larderel … & Wackernagel, 2002; Teng & Wu, 2018).

Hence, this research examines identifies the rationale for ISO 14001 certification (Carvalho, Santos & Gonçalves, 2020; Eltayeb, Zailani & Ramayah, 2011; Lee, Noh, Choi & Rha, 2017; Potoski & Prakash, 2005) that is supposedly intended to improve the organizations’ environmental performance and to enhance their credentials. Specifically, this contribution’s objectives are threefold. Firstly, it provides a generic background on voluntary instruments, policies and guidelines that are intended to promote corporate environmentally responsible behaviors. Secondly, it presents the results from a systematic review of academic articles that were focused on ISO 14001 – environment management systems. Thirdly, it synthesizes the findings from high impact papers and discusses about the benefits and costs of using this standard. In conclusion, it elaborates on the implications of this research, it identifies its limitations and points out future research avenues.

In sum, this contribution differentiates itself from previous articles, particularly those that sought to investigate the introduction and implementation of environment management systems in specific entities. This research involves a two-stage systematic analysis. It appraises a number of empirical investigations, theoretical articles, reviews, case studies, discursive/opinion papers, from 1995-2021. Afterwards, it scrutinizes their content to shed more light on the pros and cons of using ISO 14001 as a vehicle to improve corporate environmental performance.

This paper can be downloaded, in its entirety, through ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/358557458_The_rationale_for_ISO_14001_certification_A_systematic_review_and_a_cost-benefit_analysis

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How to reduce food loss (and waste) from the hospitality industry?

This is an excerpt from one of my latest academic contributions.

(C) Travlinmad.com

Hospitality businesses can implement a number of responsible practices. The very first step for them is to develop ‘sustainable’ menus. The restaurants’ menus can offer a choice of different portion sizes to satisfy the requirements of different customers. They may feature fewer items in their menus to operate their business with a reduced inventory of food products to decrease storage costs, minimize waste and spoilage. It is in the interest of restaurant owner-managers to procure fresh ingredients from local businesses including farmers, bakers, butchers, et cetera, to ensure that they are preparing good food for their valued customers. Local products including organic items like fruit and vegetables, will have a longer shelf life than imported ones.

The hospitality businesses ought to forge close relationships with dependable, local suppliers to implement just-in-time purchasing systems (Camilleri, 2015a; Camilleri, 2017a). There is scope for them to purchase regularly and in smaller quantities to reduce the probabilities of food spoilage and dehydration. They are expected to continuously monitor the expiration dates of their food items and ingredients to minimize waste and to respect relevant hygienic standards. Owner-managers may apply the first expired first out (FEFO) principles in their kitchens, to avoid any stock-outs.  Moreover, they can use food tracking devices to identify the types of food waste they are generating.

Their monitoring and control of food waste should be carried out on a day-to-day basis, as it can lead to significant operational efficiencies and cost savings.  Practitioners may keep a track record of their waste in a spreadsheet. They can measure the quantity of organic waste that is generated from their premises. They may include details like the dates (and times of events), which ingredients or recipes were wasted, the name of the employee(s) who was (or were) responsible for the waste, et cetera. Furthermore, practitioners can estimate the composition of their organic waste and identify whether it is derived from vegetables, bread/pasta, specific meats, etc. This will allow them to make adjustments in their food menus (if possible).

Such food trackers may also help the hospitality business to detect irresponsible behaviors in their kitchens and to minimize food waste from their properties. It may indicate that certain employees are not engaging in responsible food preparation behaviors. There is scope for hospitality businesses to train their human resources, at all levels, particularly new employees, on circular economy approaches [Camilleri, 2014). This way, they will be in a better position to improve their efficiencies in terms of reducing, reusing and recycling resources, and responsible waste disposal practices (Camilleri, 2019a; Camilleri, 2020). They have to be supported and educated on the best practices to ensure that they are improving the (economic) sustainability of their businesses’ food and beverage operations whilst minimizing their impact on the natural environment (Camilleri, 2015b; Camilleri, 2016a; Camilleri, 2017). Table 1 illustrates the responsible behaviors that can be implemented by hospitality businesses to reduce food loss and the generation of waste from their premises:

This research shed light on a number of laudable circular economy initiatives that were drawn from the hospitality industry. It also made reference to a sustainable enterprise that utilizes a sharing economy platform that links consumers with hospitality service providers. Mobile users can purchase surplus food from hotels, restaurants and cafes at a discount. At the same time, the app enables the businesses to make revenue out of their perishable food and to minimize their environmental footprint by reducing their waste. Moreover, it reported that businesses can benefit from tax deductions and credit systems, in different contexts, if they donate surplus (edible) food to charities and food banks.  Alternatively, if the food is contaminated or decayed it may be accumulated and turned it into animal feed, compost or transformed into energy through methanation processes. The case studies indicated that the re-utilization of non-edible leftovers may be monetized if they are used for such secondary purposes.

Key Takeaways

The implementation and execution of the circular economy’s closed loop systems ought to be promoted through different marketing channels. Hotels and restaurants can use marketing communications through different media to raise awareness on how they are capable of generating less waste (Camilleri, 2016b). They should promote sustainable production and consumption behaviors through different media outlets, including traditional and digital channels (Camilleri & Costa, 2018; Camilleri, 2018a; 2018b; 2018c).

The hospitality businesses responsible initiatives can raise their profile among different stakeholders, including customers and suppliers, among others (Camilleri, 2015; 2018d). The customers will probably appreciate the hospitality businesses’ efforts to reduce their impact to the natural environment. Some of their sustainability measures are dependent on the active commitment of hotel clients and restaurant patrons. Therefore, it is very important for them to raise awareness about their waste prevention campaigns and on their environmental achievements so that they may feel part of the responsible initiatives. This way, they become key participants in the reduction of generated waste. Hence, businesses can educate customers about responsible consumption behaviors to help them in their endeavors to curb food loss and the generation of unnecessary waste [Camilleri & Ratten, 2020; Camilleri, 2019b). The food and beverage servers could engage in conversations with their clients to better understand their food requirements.

In a similar vein, this research suggests that the hospitality businesses ought to forge closer relationships with their suppliers including farmers and other retailers, to implement responsible inventory management systems and just-in-time purchasing. Suppliers must continuously be informed and updated on their procurement policies. Their ongoing communications may facilitate collaborative practices that may translate to positive outcomes, including the sourcing of better-quality products with extended lifecycles and longer expiry dates. 

This contribution reported various preventative measures and recycling practices that may be taken on board by hospitality practitioners and their stakeholders, to reduce food waste and its detrimental effect on our natural environment and biospheres. There is scope for trade unions and industry associations in tourism and hospitality, to promote the responsible behaviors, among their members.

Notwithstanding, regulatory authorities and their policy makers can encourage hospitality practitioners to invest in environmentally friendly systems to minimize their food loss and waste. They can offer them financial incentives like tax deductions or exemptions when they donate surplus food. Alternatively, governments can support them by providing adequate infrastructures and resources including on-site composting facilities and/or methanization processes that are aimed to minimize the accumulation of food waste that finishes in landfills. Such responsible investments will ultimately result in a sustainable value chain in tourism cities, as they add value to the hospitality businesses, to the environment and to society, at large (Salonen & Camilleri, 2020; Camilleri, 2017b).

Suggested citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2021). Sustainable Production and Consumption of Food. Mise-en-Place Circular Economy Policies and Waste Management Practices in Tourism Cities. Sustainability, 13, 9986. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179986 (OPEN ACCESS)

References

Camilleri, M.A. (2014). The business case for corporate social responsibility. In Marketing & Public Policy as a Force for Social Change Conference. Proceedings pp. 8-14 (Washington D.C., 4th June), American Marketing Association (AMA), Available online: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273131156_The_Business_Case_for_Corporate_Social_Responsibility.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015a). Re-conceiving CSR programmes for education. In Corporate Social Responsibility: Academic Insights and Impacts, Vertigans, S. & Idowu, S.O. (Eds), Springer: Cham, Swtizerland, http://www.springer.com/gb/book/9783319350820

Camilleri, M.A. (2015b). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 6, 2, 224-242. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2014-0065 

Camilleri M.A. (2016a). Corporate sustainability and responsibility toward education, Journal of Global Responsibility 7, 1, 56-71, http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JGR-08-2015-0015

Camilleri M.A. (2016b). Reconceiving corporate social responsibility for business and educational outcomes. Cogent Business and Management, 3, 1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23311975.2016.1142044

Camilleri, M.A. (2017a) Corporate citizenship and social responsibility policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8, 1, 77-93. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/SAMPJ-05-2016-0023

Camilleri, M.A. (2017b). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: Creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, 2, 1, 59-74. https://ajssr.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41180-017-0016-5

Camilleri, M.A. (2018a). The promotion of responsible tourism management through digital media. Tourism Planning & Development15, 6, 653-671. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21568316.2017.1393772

Camilleri, M.A. (2018b). Unlocking corporate social responsibility through digital media. In Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility in the Digital Era.  Lindgreen, A., Vanhamme, J., Maon, F. and Watkins, R. (Eds), Routledge: Oxford, United Kingdom, https://www.routledge.com/Communicating-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-in-the-Digital-Era/Lindgreen-Vanhamme-Watkins/p/book/9781472484161

Camilleri, M.A. (2018c) Unleashing corporate social responsibility communication for small businesses in the digital era. In Academy of Management Annual Conference Proceedings: Improving Lives, Chicago, 11 August 2018, Academy of Management. Available online: https://journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/AMBPP.2018.10467abstract

Camilleri, M.A. (2018d). Theoretical insights on integrated reporting: The inclusion of non-financial capitals in corporate disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 23, 4,  567-581.  https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016:

Camilleri, M.A. & Costa, R. A. (2018). The small businesses’ responsible entrepreneurship and their stakeholder engagement through digital media. 13th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ECIE) (11 September). University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal. Available online: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3233528 (accessed on 24 August 2021).

Camilleri, M. A. (2019a). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536. https://doi.org/10.1002/sd.1909

Camilleri, M.A. (2019b). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes towards ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 30, 13-14, 1549-1561. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14783363.2017.1413344

Camilleri, M. A. (2020). European environment policy for the circular economy: Implications for business and industry stakeholders. Sustainable Development28(6), 1804-1812.https://doi.org/10.1002/SD.2113

Camilleri, M.A. & Ratten, V. (2020). The sustainable development of smart cities through digital innovation. Sustainability, Available online: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/Smart_Cities_Digital_Innovation (accessed on 24 August 2021).

Salonen A.O. & Camilleri M.A. (2020). Creating Shared Value. In Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management, Idowu S., Schmidpeter R., Capaldi N., Zu L., Del Baldo M. and Abreu R. (eds), Springer, Cham, Switzerland. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3683975

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Call for chapters: “Advancing the Circular Economy for a Sustainable Future”

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2020
Full chapters due: 31st December 2020

The Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) defined sustainable development as; “development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (p. 43). Its underlying assumption is that the world’s physical resources are not finite; therefore, they have to be managed responsibly to sustain future generations (Camilleri, 2018a; Camilleri, 2014). Subsequently, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development has put forward Agenda 21 that dedicated a chapter that was focused on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. This document recommended that the UN’s member states ought to intensify their efforts to reduce the use of scarce resources during production processes, whilst minimising the environmental impacts from the generation of waste and pollution (Camilleri, 2018a; Camilleri, 2014; Agenda 21, 1992).

In 2002, the UN Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development also made reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The UN’s member states were urged to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner and with lower negative environmental impacts; by promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, whilst reducing waste (WSSD, 2002, p. 13). Moreover, in another resolution, entitled; “The future we want,” the General Assembly at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing green economy policies in the context of sustainable development. The heads of state and government or their representatives have agreed to continue promoting the integrated and sustainable management of ecosystems, whilst facilitating their conservation, regeneration, and restoration of resources (UNCSD, 2012). Furthermore, during the UN’s General Assembly Resolution of September 25 2015 entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the world leaders have agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals that replaced the previous millennium development goals that were established in the year 2000. Specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal 12 of the 2030 agenda, namely, “Sustainable Consumption and Production” explained that there is an opportunity for business and industry to reap economic gains through resource and energy efficiencies. It also raised awareness on the use of sustainable infrastructures and urged the UN member states to address air, water, and soil pollution to minimise their environmental impact (UNDP, 2015). Moreover, the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21) and Resolutions 1/5 and 2/7 on chemicals and waste, and 2/8 on sustainable production and consumption, as adopted by the first and second sessions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on the June 27, 2014 and the May 27, 2016), are also considered as important policy instruments for many stakeholders, as they have paved the way for the transition towards the CE strategy.

These intergovernmental policy recommendations on sustainable consumption and production have led to increased regulatory pressures on business and industry towards controlled operations management and environmentally responsible practices.

Relevant theoretical underpinnings reported that the circular economy reduces the reliance on resource extraction and raw materials (Camilleri, 2018b; Camilleri, 2017; Cooper, 1999). Therefore, it restores any damage in resource acquisition by ensuring that little waste is generated throughout the production process and during the products’ life. Liu, Li, Zuo, Zhang, and Wang (2009) explained that the circular economy aims at minimising the generation of waste, as it involves environmental conservation. Similarly, Su, Heshmati, Geng, and Yu (2013) contended that the circular economy strategy involves efficiency‐oriented control systems at all stages of production, distribution, and consumption of materials. They made reference to energy efficiency and water conservation, land management, and soil protection, among other issues. Hence, the circular economy model can lead to resource and energy efficiencies as well as economic development.

In this light, the publisher is calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the sustainable production and consumption of resources, materials and products. Therefore, the readers of this publication will be in a better position to understand the operations and strategies in manufacturing industries as well as in closed loop and product-service systems (Camilleri, 2018a). This special issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Alternative consumption patterns;
  • Assessment and Reporting;
  • Biomass;
  • Clean production;
  • Circular economy;
  • Circular economy business models;
  • Circular economy product designs;
  • Climate change;
  • Climate change policy and adaptation;
  • Closed loop systems;
  • Corporate social responsibility;
  • Corporate sustainability,
  • Eco-efficiency;
  • Eco-industrial parks;
  • Ecological management and natural capital;
  • Education for sustainability;
  • Emissions reduction;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Energy policy;
  • Energy use and consumption;
  • Environmental assessment;
  • Environmental behavior;
  • Environmental economics;
  • Environmental management;
  • Environmental policy;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Extended producer responsibility;
  • Footprints and other assessment types;
  • Green/sustainable engineering;
  • Green/sustainable supply chains;
  • Industrial, agricultural and supply chains;
  • Industrial ecology;
  • Life cycle assessment;
  • Pollution reduction;
  • Product-service systems;
  • Recycling Resources;
  • Regional sustainability;
  • Renewable energy;
  • Renewable resource;
  • Resource and energy use;
  • Resource Efficiency;
  • Sustainable consumption;
  • Sustainable production;
  • Sustainable tourism;
  • Urban and regional sustainability;
  • Water conservation;
  • Waste management;
  • Waste minimization;

 

Submission Procedure

Academics and researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract before the 30th June 2020. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2020. The accepted chapters should be submitted before the 31st December 2020. The length of the chapters should be around 7,000 words (including references, figures and tables). The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications –before the 25th February 2021.

 

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of the book chapters. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Prof.  Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)

Department of Corporate Communication,

Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,

University of Malta, MALTA.

Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Emerald for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.emerald.com/insight/. This prospective publication will be released in 2021.

 

References

Agenda 21.1992. United Nations Conference on Environment & Development. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. United Nations Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf.

Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Closing the Loop of the Circular Economy for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. In Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management (pp. 175-190). Springer, Cham.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018a). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018b). Closing the loop for resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production: A critical review of the circular economy. International Journal of Sustainable Development.21(1-4), 1-17.

Cooper, T. (1999). Creating an economic infrastructure for sustainable product design. Journal of Sustainable Product Design8, 7– 17.

Liu, Q., Li, H. M., Zuo, X. L., Zhang, F. F., & Wang, L. (2009). A survey and analysis on public awareness and performance for promoting circular economy in China: A case study from Tianjin. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 265– 270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2008.06.003

Su, B., Heshmati, A., Geng, Y., & Yu, X. (2013). A review of the circular economy in China: Moving from rhetoric to implementation. Journal of Cleaner Production42, 215– 227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.020

UNCSD (2012). Future we want—Outcome document. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012. United Nations General Assembly. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E.

UNDP (2015). Transforming our world. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015 http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_1_E.pdf.

WCED (1987). Our common future. In World commission on environment and development. Oxford, U.K: Oxford University press.

WSSD (2002). United Nations report of the world summit on sustainable development. Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August‐ 4 September 2002. http://www.un‐documents.net/aconf199‐20.pdf.

 

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Submit your paper to Sustainability’s special issue on smart cities and digital innovation

I am co-editing a Special issue for Sustainability (IF: 2.592). Your contributions should be related to “The Sustainable Development of Smart Cities through Digital Innovation”

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Information

The ‘smart city’ concept has been wrought from distinctive theoretical underpinnings. Initially, this term was used to describe those cities that utilized advanced computerized systems to provide a safe, secure, green, and efficient transportation services and utilities to meet the demands of their citizens (Caragliu, Del Bo & Nijkamp, 2011; Hall, Bowerman and Braverman, Taylor, Todosow and Von Wimmersperg, 2000). A thorough literature review suggests that several cities are already using disruptive technologies, including advanced, integrated materials, sensors, electronics, and networks, among others, which are interfaced with computerized systems to improve their economic, social and environmental sustainability (Camilleri, 2015, 2017; Deakin and Al Waer, 2011; Hall et al., 2000). These cities are increasingly relying on data-driven technologies, as they gather and analyze data from urban services including transportation and utilities (Ramaswami, Russell, Culligan, Sharma and Kumar, 2016; Gretzel, Sigala, Xiang and Koo, 2015). Their underlying objective is to improve the quality of life of their citizens (Ratten, 2017; Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2015). Hence, ‘smart cities’ have introduced technological innovations to address contingent issues like traffic congestion; air pollution; waste management; loss of biodiversity and natural habitat; energy generation, conservation and consumption; water leakages and security, among other matters (Camilleri, 2019; 2014; Ahvenniemi, Huovila, Pinto-Seppä and Airaksinen, 2017; Ratten and Dana, 2017; Ratten, 2017).

Ecologically-advanced local governments and municipalities are formulating long-term sustainable policies and strategies. Some of them are already capturing data through multisensor technologies via wireless communication networks in real time (Bibri, 2018; Bibri and Krogstie, 2017). Very often, they use the Internet’s infrastructure and a wide range of smart data-sensing devices, including radio frquency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC), global positioning systems (GPS), infrared sensors, accelerometers, and laser scanners (Bibri, 2018). A few cities have already started to benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and its sophisticated network that consists of sensor devices and physical objects including infrastructure and natural resources (Zanella, Bui, Castellani, Vangelista and Zorzi, 2014).

Several cities are crunching big data to better understand how to make their cities smarter, more efficient, and responsive to today’s realities (Mohanty, Choppali and Kougianos, 2016; Ramaswami et al., 2016). They gather and analyze a vast amount of data and intelligence on urban aspects, including transportation issues, citizen mobility, traffic management, accessibility and protection of cultural heritage and/or environmental domains, among other areas (Angelidou, Psaltoglou, Komninos, Kakderi, Tsarchopoulos and Panori, 2018; Ahvenniemi et al., 2017). The latest advances in technologies like big data analytics and decision-making algorithms can support local governments and muncipalities to implement the circular economy in smart cities (Camilleri, 2019). The data-driven technologies enable them them to reduce their externalities. They can monitor and control the negative emissions, waste, habitat destruction, extinction of wildlife, etc. Therefore, the digital innovations ought to be used to inform the relevant stakeholders in their strategic planning and development of urban environments (Camilleri, 2019; Allam & Newman, 2018; Yigitcanlar and Kamruzzaman, 2018; Angelidou et al. ,2018; Caragliu et al., 2011).

In this light, we are calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the creation, diffusion, as well as on the utilization of technological innovations and information within the context of smart, sustainable cities. This Special Issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Advancing the circular economy agenda in smart cities;
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in smart cities;
  • Blockchain technologies in smart cities;
  • Green economy of smart cities;
  • Green infrastructure in smart cities;
  • Green living environments in smart cities;
  • Smart cities and the sustainable environment;
  • Smart cities and the use of data-driven technologies;
  • Smart cities and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Sustainable energy of smart cities;
  • Sustainable financing for infrastructural development in smart cities;
  • Sustainable housing in smart cities;
  • Sustainable transportation in smart cities;
  • Sustainable tourism in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and climate change for smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the green economy of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the renewable energy in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and urban resilience of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation for the infrastructural development of smart cities;
  • The accessibility and protection of the cultural heritage in smart cities;
  • The planning and design of smart cities;
  • The quality of life of the citizens and communities living in smart cities;
  • Urban innovation in smart cities;
  • Urban planning that integrates the smart city development with the greening of the environment;
  • Urban planning and data driven technologies of smart cities.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri E-Mail Website
Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Msida, MSD2080, Malta.
Interests: sustainability; digital media; stakeholder engagement; corporate social responsibility; sustainable tourism
Prof. Dr. Vanessa Ratten E-Mail Website
Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing, La Trobe University – Melbourne, Australia
Interests: innovation; technology; entrepreneurship

 

References:

  1. Ahvenniemi, H., Huovila, A., Pinto-Seppä, I., & Airaksinen, M. (2017). What are the differences between sustainable and smart cities?. Cities60, 234-245.
  2. Allam, Z., & Newman, P. (2018). Redefining the smart city: Culture, metabolism and governance. Smart Cities1(1), 4-25
  3. Angelidou, M., Psaltoglou, A., Komninos, N., Kakderi, C., Tsarchopoulos, P., & Panori, A. (2018). Enhancing sustainable urban development through smart city applications. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management9(2), 146-169.
  4. Bibri, S. E., & Krogstie, J. (2017). Smart sustainable cities of the future: An extensive interdisciplinary literature review. Sustainable cities and society31, 183-212.
  5. Bibri, S. E. (2018). The IoT for smart sustainable cities of the future: An analytical framework for sensor-based big data applications for environmental sustainability. Sustainable Cities and Society38, 230-253.
  6. Buhalis, D., & Amaranggana, A. (2015). Smart tourism destinations enhancing tourism experience through personalisation of services. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2015 (pp. 377-389). Springer, Cham.
  7. Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.
  8. Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal6(2), 224-242.
  9. Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.
  10. Camilleri, M. A. (2019). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.
  11. Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P. (2011). Smart cities in Europe. Journal of urban technology18(2), 65-82.
  12. Deakin, M., & Al Waer, H. (2011). From intelligent to smart cities. Intelligent Buildings International3(3), 140-152.
  13. Gretzel, U., Sigala, M., Xiang, Z., & Koo, C. (2015). Smart tourism: foundations and developments. Electronic Markets25(3), 179-188.
  14. Hall, R. E., Bowerman, B., Braverman, J., Taylor, J., Todosow, H., & Von Wimmersperg, U. (2000). The vision of a smart city (No. BNL-67902; 04042). Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY (US).
  15. Mohanty, S. P., Choppali, U., & Kougianos, E. (2016). Everything you wanted to know about smart cities: The internet of things is the backbone. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine5(3), 60-70.
  16. Ramaswami, A., Russell, A. G., Culligan, P. J., Sharma, K. R., & Kumar, E. (2016). Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities. Science352(6288), 940-943.
  17. Ratten, V., & Dana, L. P. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship, family farms and the dairy industry. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development (IJSESD)8(3), 114-129.
  18. Ratten, V. (2017). Entrepreneurship, innovation and smart cities. Routledge: Oxford, UK.
  19. Yigitcanlar, T., & Kamruzzaman, M. (2018). Does smart city policy lead to sustainability of cities? Land Use Policy73, 49-58.
  20. Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things journal1(1), 22-32.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Smart Cities
  • Digital innovation
  • Technological innovation
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

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Product-Service Systems for Sustainable Businesses

This is an excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M. A. (2018). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/sd.1909

(c) The Sustainable Business Edit

Many academic commentators claim that product-service systems (PSS) are moving society towards a resource‐efficient, circular economy (CE) (Tukker, 2015; Piscicelli et al., 2015; Yuan et al., 2006). PSSs shift the businesses’ focus from designing and selling only physical products, to selling a marketable set of products, services, supporting networks, and infrastructures, by including repair and maintenance, updates/upgrades, help desk, training and consultancy, and disposal‐services such as recycling and take‐back (Gaiardelli et al., 2014). Therefore, PSS consists of tangible products as well as intangible services that are combined so that they are jointly capable of satisfying the consumers’ demands (Hockerts & Weaver, 2002).

PSS providers are in a position to design need‐fulfilment systems with lower impacts to the environment, by either replacing an alternative product‐service mix or by influencing the customers’ activities to become more eco‐efficient. Tukker (2015) suggested that firms have an incentive to prolong the service life of their products and to make them as cost‐ and material‐efficient as possible. Moreover, PSSs would typically extend beyond purchase, affecting the use and disposal of resources. Hence, these systems could lead to the minimisation of material flows in the economy whilst maximising the businesses’ service output and their users’ satisfaction (Tukker & Tischner, 2006). There are three types of PSSs that prescribe different product service components and ownership packages:

(a) a product‐PSS that adds extra services but the ownership of the product(s) is transferred to the consumer(s);

(b) the results‐PSSs that would involve both parties agreeing to achieve target results, as they recast product(s) as utilised materials;

(c) in use‐PSSs, the provider(s) lease, share or pool their product(s); however, they retain the ownership of the product(s).

For instance, Koninklijke Philips N.V. (Royal Philips, commonly known as Philips), a diversified technology company utilises the use‐PSS approach, as it provides a lighting service to customers and is responsible for its technology risk. The Dutch company installs its lighting equipment (including street lighting), maintains it, and ensures that it runs for a very long time. Eventually, it reclaims back its equipment when it is the right time to recycle materials. This property rights are distributed amongst Philips and its clients, over the life time of the products. Philips has recognised an untapped opportunity to retain ownership of its products, as it has committed itself to dispose of the infrastructure and its constituent parts at their end of life. At the same time, customers (including the government) do not have to pay high upfront costs for their lighting equipment. Interestingly, Philips is also adopting a similar PSS within health care environments where it has established leasing relationships with clients for its medical infrastructure. Again, the company will eventually reclaim back its equipment and upgrades it when necessary. When the medical equipment is refurbished with the state‐of‐the art technology, the multinational firm will reuse it for another customer; it provides a warrantee cover and guarantees its products as new.

The idea of shared ownership is conspicuous with the results‐ and use‐PSSs. These systems have led to upstream effects (through sustainable designs) and increased throughput. As a result, they are sustainable in the long run, as there are less externalities, in terms of waste and emissions.

References

Camilleri, M. A.(2017). Corporate sustainability, social responsibility and 
environmental management: An introduction to theory and practice with 
case studies. Cham: Springer Nature.

Gaiardelli, P.,Resta, B., Martinez, V., Pinto, R., & Albores, P. (2014). A
classification model for product‐service offerings. Journal of cleaner 
production, 66,507–519.

Hockerts, K.,& Weaver, N. (2002). Are service systems worth our interest.
Assessing the eco‐efficiency of sustainable service systems. Working document, INSEADFontainebleau, France.

Piscicelli, L.,Cooper, T., & Fisher, T. (2015). The role of values in collaborative
consumption:Insights from a product service system for lending
and borrowing in the UK. Journal of Cleaner Production, 97, 21–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.07.032

Tukker, A. (2015). Product services for a resource‐efficient andcircular
economy—A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 97, 76–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.049

Tukker, A., &Tischner, U. (2006). Product‐services as a research field: Past, present and future. Reflections from a decade of research. Journal of 
Cleaner Production, 14(17),1552–1556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2006.01.02

Yuan, Z., Bi, J.,& Moriguichi, Y. (2006). The circular economy: A new development strategy in China.Journal of Industrial Ecology, 10(1), 4–8.



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The Circular Economy and the Sustainability Agenda

This is excerpt from my latest paper that was accepted by ‘Sustainable Development’ (Wiley).

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The Circular Economy’s Closed Loop and Product Service Systems for Sustainable Development: A Review and Appraisal. Sustainable Development. Forthcoming.

The Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) defined sustainable development as; “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (p. 43). Its underlying assumption is that the world’s physical resources are not finite, therefore, they have to be managed responsibly to sustain future generations. Subsequently, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development has put forward Agenda 21 that dedicated a chapter that was focused on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. This document recommended that the UN’s member states ought to intensify their efforts to reduce the use of scarce resources during production processes, whilst minimising the environmental impacts from generation of waste and pollution (Agenda 21, 1992).

In 2002, the UN Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development also made reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The UN’s member states were urged to manage their natural resources sustainably and with lower negative environmental impacts; by promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, whilst reducing waste (WSSD, 2002, p 13). Moreover, in another resolution, entitled; “The future we want”, the General Assembly at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing green economy policies in the context of sustainable development. The Heads of State and Government or their representatives have agreed to continue promoting the integrated and sustainable management of eco-systems; whilst facilitating their conservation, regeneration and restoration of resources (UNCSD, 2012). Furthermore, during the UN’s General Assembly Resolution of 25 September 2015, entitled; “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” the world leaders have agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals that replaced the previous millennium development goals that were established in the year 2000. Specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 of the 2030 agenda, namely; “Sustainable Consumption and Production” explained that there is an opportunity for business and industry to reap economic gains through resource and energy efficiencies. It also raised awareness on the use of sustainable infrastructures and urged the UN member states to address air, water and soil pollution to minimise their environmental impact (UNDP, 2015). Moreover, the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21) and Resolutions 1/5 and 2/7 on chemicals and waste, and 2/8 on sustainable production and consumption, as adopted by the 1st and 2nd sessions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (that was held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 27th June 2014 and the 27th May 2016), are also considered as important policy instruments for many stakeholders, as they have paved the way for the transition toward the circular economy strategy.

These intergovernmental policy recommendations on sustainable consumption and production have led to increased regulatory pressures on business and industry toward controlled operations management and environmentally-responsible practices. In 2014, the European Union (EU) Commission anticipated that, “new business models, eco-designs and industrial symbiosis can move the community toward zero-waste; reduce greenhouse emissions and environmental impacts” (EU, 2018). Eventually, in March 2017, the EU Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee organised a Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, where it reported on the delivery and progress of some of its Action Plan. It also established a Finance Support Platform with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and issued important guidance documents to Member States on the conversion of waste to energy.

Other EU Communications on this subject, comprised: “Innovation for a sustainable future – The Eco-innovation Action Plan“; “Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations“; “Green Action Plan for SMEs: enabling SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities“; “Closing the loop –An EU action plan for the Circular Economy” and the report on its implementation, and “Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable Industry – A renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy“, among others (EU, 2017). Recently, the EU commission has adopted a set of measures, including; a “Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy” that specified that all plastics packaging will have to be recyclable by 2030; It released a communication on the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation, as it explains how they relate to each other. Moreover, the commission launched a Monitoring Framework that may be used to assess the progress of its member states towards the implementation of the circular economy action plan. This framework is composed of a set of ten key indicators, comprising; 1) EU self-sufficiency for raw materials; 2) Green public procurement; 3a-c) Waste generation; 4) Food waste, 5a-b) Overall recycling rates, 6a-f) Recycling rates for specific waste streams, 7a-b) Contribution of recycled materials to raw materials demand, 8) Trade in recyclable raw materials, 9a-c) Private investments, jobs and gross value added, and 10) Patents. Furthermore, (EU, 2018) published a report on the supply and demand of critical raw materials that are used in mining, landfills, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, automotive sector, renewable energy, defence industry as well as for chemicals and fertilizers.


References

Agenda 21. 1992. United Nations Conference on Environment & Development. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. United Nations Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf [6 July 2018].

EU 2017. Council conclusions on eco-innovation: enabling the transition towards a circulareconomy. European Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/12/18/council-conclusions-on-eco-innovation-transition-towards-a-circular-economy/#[5th July 2018].

EU 2018. Implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. European Commission.  http://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm[5th July 2018].

UNCSD 2012. The Future We Want – Outcome document. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012. United Nations  General Assembly. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E [25 June 2018].

UNDP 2015. Transforming our World. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_1_E.pdf [25 June 2018].

WSSD 2002. United Nations Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August- 4 September 2002.  http://www.un-documents.net/aconf199-20.pdf [29 June 2018].

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The Way Forward: Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

An Excerpt from: Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility: Creating Value for Business, Society and the Environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility 2(1) 59-74. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s41180-017-0016-5

In the past, CSR may have been more associated with corporate philanthropy, stewardship principles, contributions-in-kind toward social and environmental causes, environmental protection, employees’ engagement in community works, volunteerism and pro-bono service among other responsible initiatives. Very often, such altruistic CSR activities may have not resulted in financial performance to the business per se. On the contrary, certain discretionary
expenses in corporate philanthropy could have usurped the businesses’ slack resources (including financial assets, labour and time) without adding much value (in terms of corporate reputation and goodwill) to the businesses. Nevertheless, this research reported that the contemporary discourses on corporate social responsibility are opening new opportunities for the businesses themselves. The academic discourse about CSR is moving away from ‘nice-to
do’ to ‘doing-well-by-doing-good’ mantra. Evidently, the value-based approaches that were discussed in this paper could be considered as guiding principles that will lead tomorrow’s businesses to long term sustainability (in social and economic terms). Debatably, the profit motive (the business case or corporate sustainability concepts) could be linked with the corporate responsibility agenda. This way, the multinational corporations could be better prepared to address their societal and environmental deficits across the globe, whilst adding value to their business.

This review paper has built on the previous theoretical underpinnings of the corporate social responsibility agenda including Stakeholder Management, Corporate Citizenship and Creating Shared Value as it presents the latest Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility perspective. This value-based model reconciles strategic CSR and environmental management with a stakeholder approach to bring long term corporate sustainability, in terms of economic performance for the business, as well as corporate responsibility’s social outcomes. Recently, some international conferences including Humboldt University’s gatherings in 2014 and 2016 have also raised awareness on this proposition. The corporate sustainability and responsibility concept is linked to improvements to the companies’ internal processes including environmental management, human resource management, operations management and marketing (i.e. Corporate Sustainability). At the same time, it raises awareness on the
businesses’ responsible behaviours (i.e. Corporate Responsibility) toward stakeholders including the government, suppliers, customers and the community, among others. The fundamental motivation behind this approach is the view that creating connections between stakeholders in the value chain will open-up unseen opportunities for the competitive advantage of responsible businesses, as illustrated in Figure 1.

cs model

Multinational organizations are under increased pressures from stakeholders (particularly customers and consumer associations) to revisit their numerous processes in their value chain activities. Each stage of the company’s production process, from the supply chain to the transformation of resources could add value to their businesses’ operational costs as they produce end-products. However, the businesses are always expected to be responsible in their internal processes toward their employees or toward their suppliers’ labour force. Therefore, this corporate sustainability and responsibility perspective demands that businesses create economic and societal value by re-aligning their corporate objectives with stakeholder management and environmental responsibility. In sum, corporate sustainability and responsibility may only happen when companies demonstrate their genuine willingness to add corporate responsible dimensions and stakeholder engagement to their value propositions. This occurs when businesses opt for responsible managerial practices that are integral to their overall corporate strategy. These strategic behaviours create opportunities for them to improve the well-being of stakeholders as they reduce negative externalities on the environment. The negative externalities can be eliminated by developing integrated approaches that are driven by ethical and sustainability principles. Very often, multinational businesses are in a position to mitigate risk and to avoid inconveniences to third parties. For instance, major accidents including BP’s Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010, or the collapse of Primark’s Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, back in 2013, could have been prevented if the big businesses were responsible beforehand.

In conclusion, the corporate sustainability and responsibility construct is about embedding sustainability and responsibility by seeking out and connecting with the stakeholders’ varied interests. As firms reap profits and grow, there is a possibility that they generate virtuous circlesof positive multiplier effects (Camilleri, 2017). Therefore, corporate sustainability and responsibility can be considered as strategic in its intents and purposes. Indeed, the businesses are capable of being socially and environmentally responsible ‘citizens’ as they are doing well, economically. This theoretical paper has contributed to academic knowledge as it explained the foundations for corporate sustainability and responsibility. Although this concept is still evolving, the debate among academic commentators is slowly but surely raising awareness on responsible managerial practices and on the skills and competences that are needed to deliver strategic results that create value for businesses, society and the environment.

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The Corporations’ Non-Financial Disclosures

susty.png

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Jenkins Report may be considered as one of the major documents that has provided the foundations for non-financial disclosures. Notwithstanding, there were other guidelines that were developed by other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including; the Global Reporting Initiative, AccountAbility, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), the World Intellectual Capital Initiative (WICI), the Enhanced Business Reporting Consortium, the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the International Corporate Governance Network, the Sustainability Reporting Standards Board and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, among others. The International Standards Organization (ISO), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Greenpeace, Rainforest Alliance and Home Depot Certifiable, Fair Trade and the US Department of Agriculture’s USDA Organic Labelling, among others, have formulated uncertifiable, multi-stakeholder standards and instruments to support organizations in their CSR communication. In addition, certain listed corporations are adopting Fortune’s reputation index, the KLD Social index or RepTrak (Camilleri, 2017). Such measures require corporate executives to assess the extent to which their organization behaves responsibly towards the environment and the community. Despite the development of these guiding principles and indices, their appropriateness remains doubtful (Camilleri, 2015).

In 2010, the development of ISO 26000 had represented a significant milestone in integrating socially and environmentally responsible behaviors into management processes. ISO 26000 was developed through a participatory multi-stakeholder process as the International Labor Organization (ILO) had established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure that ISO’s social responsibility standard is consistent with its own labor standards. In fact, ISO 26000’s core subject on ‘Labor Practices’ is based on ILOs’ conventions on labor practices, including; Human Resources Development Convention, Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, Forced Labor Convention, Freedom of Association, Minimum Wage Fixing Recommendation and the Worst Forms of Child Labor Recommendation, among others. Moreover, ISO’s core subject on ‘human rights’ is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948). On the other hand, many academic commentators argue that ISO 26000 has never been considered as a management standard (Camilleri, 2017). The certification requirements have not been incorporated into ISO 26000’s development and reinforcement process, unlike other standards, including ISO 9000 and ISO 14001. Notwithstanding, ISO 14001 belongs to a larger set of ISO 14000 certifications that conform with the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

The European Union (EU) has developed its non-binding guidelines for the non-financial disclosures of large, public-interest entities that engage more than 500 employees (Stubbs and Higgins, 2015; EU, 2014). The European Parliament mandated Directive 2014/95/EU on non-financial reporting; that was subsequently ratified by the European member states. Therefore, large undertakings are expected to disclose material information on their ESG behaviors. These entities are required to explain any deviations from their directive’s recommendations in their annual declaration of conformity, as per the EU’s “Comply or Explain” principle (Camilleri, 2015; EU, 2014). Their non-financial disclosures include topics, such as; social dialogue with stakeholders, information and consultation rights, trade union rights, health and safety and gender equality, among other issues. Moreover, the organizations’ environmental reporting could cover; material disclosures on energy efficiencies, the monitoring of efficiency levels their energy generation capacities, assessments on the co-generation of heating facilities, the use of renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution prevention and control from the production and processing of metals, mineral industry, chemical industry, waste management, livestock farming, etc. (Camilleri, 2015). Therefore, large undertakings are expected to bear responsibility for the prevention and reduction of pollution. The EU recommends that the large organizations implement ILO’s Tri-partite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, as well as other conventions that promote the fair working conditions of employees. It also makes reference to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and mentions ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility (EU, 2014). Following, the EU’s mandate for non-financial reporting, it is expected that 6,000 European public interest entities will be publishing their sustainability reports in 2018, covering financial year 2017-2018 (GRI, 2017).

 


Additional Reading:

Camilleri, M.A (2015). Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 6 (2), 224 – 242. Emerald.  http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2014-0065 Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review, 18 (3), 210-222. Palgrave Macmillan DOI:10.1057/crr.2015.9 http://www.palgrave-journals.com/crr/journal/v18/n3/full/crr20159a.html Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes toward ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. (forthcoming). http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14783363.2017.1413344 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14783363.2017.1413344 Download this paper

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management: An Introduction to Theory and Practice with Case Studies. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany. ISBN 978-3-319-46849-5 http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319468488

CSRWire (2015). Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting in Europe. http://www.csrwire.com/blog/posts/1574-environmental-social-and-governance-disclosures-in-europe

 

 

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Closing the loop for resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production: a critical review of the circular economy

Abstract: The circular economy proposition is not a novel concept. However, it has recently stimulated sustainable consumption and production ideas on remanufacturing, refurbishing and recycling of materials. A thorough literature review suggests that the circular economys regenerative systems are intended to minimise industrial waste, emissions, and energy leakages through the creation of long-lasting designs that improve resource efficiencies. In this light, this research critically analyses the circular economys closed loop systems. The findings suggest that this sustainable development model could unleash a new wave of operational improvements and enhanced productivity levels through waste management and the responsible use and reuse of materials in business and industry. In conclusion, this research implies that closed loop and product service systems could result in significant efficiencies in sustainable consumption and production of resources

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Closing the Loop for Resource Efficiency, Sustainable Consumption and Production: A Critical Review of the Circular Economy. International Journal of Sustainable Development (forthcoming). DOI: 10.1504/IJSD.2018.10012310

Keywords: circular economy; resource efficiency; corporate sustainability; creating shared value; corporate social responsibility; strategic CSR; stakeholder engagement; social responsibility; recycling resources; reusing resources; restoring resources; reducing resources.

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The Integrated Reporting of Financial, Social and Sustainability Capitals

An excerpt from my latest paper, entitled, “The Integrated Reporting of Financial, Social and Sustainability Capitals: A Critical Review and Appraisal” that will be published by the International Journal of Sustainable Society (this journal is indexed in Scopus).

 

A thorough literature review suggests that the integrated report is more than just a summary of financial, social, sustainability and governance information in corporate disclosures (Adams, 2015). The integrated disclosures constitute a full picture of a company’s overall business performance. Organisations are looking at all aspects of their value-creating capitals, including; financial; manufactured; intellectual; human; social (and relationship); as well as natural capitals (IR, 2013). These capitals complement and compete against each other. Therefore, the practitioners who would like to comply with IIRC’s <IR> framework will probably experience a dynamic process of adaptation, learning and action to redesign their disclosures. They may have to change their internal management systems, processes and strategies to incorporate ESG issues into their core business model (Camilleri, 2015b, Adams, 2015, Churet & Eccles, 2014; Eccles & Krzus, 2010).

Relevant academic literature has yielded many recommendations, ideas and concepts that have surely improved corporate reporting (Crowther, 2016). This contribution also reported how “integrated thinking” in corporate reporting involves the inclusion of material information on financial and non-financial matters (Adams & Simnett, 2011). Moreover, it linked the organisations’ integrated reporting with the conceptual developments that were conspicuous in the stewardship, institutional and legitimacy theories, among others. This paper has indicated that these theoretical insights have focused on the rationale for the inclusion of non-financial information in corporate disclosures (Adams et al., 2016; Eccles & Krzus, 2010). Although, there are reasonable arguments in favour and against integrated reporting; in sum, the researcher believes that the IIRC’s framework has proved to be a useful instrument for those responsible organisations who are communicating about their financial and non-financial capitals (IIRC, 2017). The framework contains guiding principles and content elements that will enable organisations to disclose a true and fair view of their holistic activities. Conversely, the avoidance of ESG disclosures from their corporate reports can result in a highly-distorted picture of current and future business activities (Camilleri, 2017).

This research has evidenced how the theoretical insights from academic literature have led to the development of integrated reporting. It explained that the organisations’ stewardship behaviours, including their ‘integrated thinking’ can help them improve their legitimacy among stakeholders and institutions. The researcher contended that IIRC’s <IR> framework supports organisations in their holistic reporting approaches as it takes into account material information on financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and natural capitals.

Indeed, the IIRC’s <IR> framework was a recent development in corporate reporting. This framework has its inherent limitations that were duly pointed out in this paper. However, this contribution maintains that integrated reporting provides a road map for those organisations who would like to pursue the sustainability path (Dacin et al., 2007). The framework is based on the general notion that integrated accounting considers both financial and non-financial information to give a true and fair view of the company’s overall business performance. When practitioners embed ESG disclosures and “integrated thinking” they help to catalyse positive behavioural change within their respective organisation (Adams & Simnett, 2011). This integrated thinking influences the practitioners’ ethical behaviours and their stance on financial and non-financial performance (Camilleri, 2015b). The researcher believes that the framework’s strategic focus calls for both internalisation and externalisation processes. Internalisation is a process through which the organisation’s human resources adopt the framework’s external ideas, opinions, views or concepts, as their own. This process starts with learning about the reporting framework, and why its development makes sense to the organisation, as a whole. The internal stakeholders will probably experience a process of adaptation until they finally accept that their organisation’s integrated reporting of financial and non-financial capitals creates value over time. Thus, the internalisation process can be understood as a process of acceptance of a new set of norms and working practices that will improve the organisation’s performance, in the long term.

The organisations’ internal transformation may lead to significant changes in terms of the embeddedness of ESG performance in their operational processes. The non-financial disclosures will shed light on the externalities that affect stakeholders and other unrelated parties. In other words, through integrated reporting; the internal effects of integrated reporting are finally externalised outside the organisations’ boundaries. At times, organisations may intentionally or unintentionally conceal ESG information from stakeholders. Certain unethical practices may result from conscious or unconscious organisational behaviours or simply from misconduct when dealing with extensive information outputs.

In conclusion, this contribution suggests that the <IR> framework is a step in the right direction as integrated reporting leads to the re-evaluation of the organisations’ legitimacy (Beck et al., 2015; Dacin et al., 2007; Brown & Deegan, 1998). Hence, IIRC’s framework encourages organisations to report both positive and negative behaviours that substantively affect their ability to create value over the short, medium and long term. Practitioners are also expected to provide an adequate and sufficient context about their strategy, governance and prospects in a balanced way (Camilleri, 2017).

 

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