Corporate Sustainability Management: The Art and Science of Managing Non-financial Performance

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Businesses around the world are increasingly turning to an exciting new branch of management known as corporate sustainability management (CSM) to help them better understand and manage their non-financial performance.

Indeed, what we are witnessing is nothing less than the birth of a new management function. The main pillar of CSM is the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), which has been successful as an organizing principle but a disappointment in practice. This is largely due to the absence of 'sustainability context' in related measurement, management and reporting efforts, when for example the monitoring of a company's use of freshwater resources fails to take into account the size of related supplies.

This book is the first to introduce a systematic means of including context in sustainability management and doing effective CSM. After making the case for why context matters, the book explains how to do context-based CSM by providing a stepwise, cyclical blueprint for how to practice it in any organization. This includes a template for context-based metrics compatible with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), as well as specific examples of metrics for each of the triple bottom lines.

Practical examples of best practices are presented throughout, while simultaneously addressing key issues, such as how organizations can measure performance against context-based standards when consensus for such standards does not yet exist. Appendices include tools for developing and applying context-based metrics, as well as case studies taken from the practice of context-based CSM at two companies in the United States.

This guide is the essential tool for business and organizational leaders in all sectors committed to improving their sustainability performance, with a particular emphasis on measurement, management and reporting.


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1 Contextbased sustainability
2 Key issues and practice implications of contextbased sustainability
3 How to do CSM
4 Summary and conclusions
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About the author (2012)

Mark W. McElroy, Ph.D. is an accomplished researcher, developer, consultant and trainer in the area of tools, methods and metrics for measuring, managing and reporting the sustainability performance of organizations. He is the founder and Executive Director at the Center for Sustainable Organizations in Thetford Center, Vermont, and a leading advocate and practitioner of context-based sustainability. Dr. McElroy is also the creator of the Social Footprint Method, a context-based system for measuring and reporting the social sustainability performance of organizations. He is a veteran of management consulting, including time spent at Price Waterhouse, KPMG Peat Marwick and Deloitte Consulting where he led the Center for Sustainability Performance in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jo van Engelen is an experienced scientist and has held top-level management positions at several companies throughout his career. He has been a full professor since 1991 at the University of Groningen (where he also is a research fellow), and since 2010 has been at Delft University of┐Technology serving as chair of Integrated Sustainable Solutions. In his academic career, he has authored/co-authored five books and more than 140 scientific papers, and presented more than 200 leading lectures around the world. In his business career, he has served full terms on two Executive Boards in an international context and served or serves on more than 10 supervisory boards (including for publicly-traded companies).

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