Drivers Or Why Implement Sustainability Accounting Essay

Since the humanity creative activity, the concerns of the adult male evolved from the most primary demands to an consciousness and a corporate contemplation for the betterment and the preservation of its environment. In sight of the fast development of these last decennaries, the involvement to protect the nature militias is appeared as an obvious fact. Indeed, pollution evidences, depletion of renewable resources and overconsumption of renewable are illustrations of the major bets with which the humanity is confronted. We have n’t more clip left to develop our land or to make new infinites so we have to cover with the infinite and environment we have. “ Sustainability ” must be a response to these challenges ( Goodland, 1995 ) 1. But sustainability is non merely about continuing the stock of natural assets and resources to keep the existent degree of life but besides increasing this degree, seeking to abrogate current inequality over the universe ( Anand and Sen, 2000 ) 2. This essay tries to specify the drivers for sustainability and to give some tools and benefice to implement sustainability in undertaking and undertaking direction.

Definition of sustainability

To be able to specify drivers, methods of execution or benefice about sustainability, the first measure is to give an available and thorough definition of sustainability. This undertaking can be difficult because of the different reading of this word by different users coming from different sectors of activities ( Sikdar, 2012 ) 3. An recognized definition was given by the World Commission on Environment and Development ‘s ( 1987 ) 4: “ Development that meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands. ” Solow ( 1991 ) 5 defined sustainability as “ un duty or injunction to carry on ourselves so that we leave to the hereafter the options and the capacity to be every bit comfortable as we are, non to fulfill ourselves by impoverishing our replacements ” affecting the impression of action and duty.

However, it is possible to do understanding between sustainability and sustainable development. Sustainability refers for most of people to a stagnating construct dwelling on continuing the resources and wellbeing from present to future coevals, but other analysts perceive sustainability as a development in a suited manner ( Marsden, 2000 ; Hart and Milstein, 2003 ) 6,7. In all instance, if development does n’t jeopardize the present stableness, sustainable development can be an built-in portion of sustainability ( Aras and Crowter, 2008 ) 8.

Sustainability can be considered in three systems that are as follow: environmental sustainability ( ES ) , societal sustainability ( SS ) and economic ( or fiscal ) sustainability ( FS ) . ES refer to the impression of natural capital and natural stuffs. It tries to better human wellbeing while keeping resources for future coevals, commanding inordinate waste and maintaining down clime alteration. SS refer to a impression achieved merely by developed civil society. More than cut downing poorness and redistributing wealth, SS tries to give values and coherences such as community, solidarity or humbleness in order to better human development. Finally, FS can be view as the care of capital with the intent of long-run prosperity. FS thing in money footings and involves the impression of renewable and un-renewable resources ( Goodland, 1995 ; Khalili, 2011 ) 1,9. It appears clearly than these three rules are linked with one another ( Elkington, 1998 ) 10.


Drivers of sustainability:

Sing the three dimensions of sustainability which were discussed earlier, society is germinating and if we do n’t alter the manner how this development takes topographic point, its demands will transcend the capacity of the Earth ( hypertext transfer protocol: //, no day of the month ) 11. Climate alterations, addition of population or resources depletion are effects of this development and can be seen as drivers for sustainability ( Maltzman and Shirley, 2001 ) 12. An account of these drivers is presented below.

A driver for environmental sustainability: Climate alteration. It is incontestable that clime system is warming progressively twenty-four hours after twenty-four hours. We already notice, on the graduated table of the Earth, an addition of the mean temperatures of the ambiance and the ocean, a monolithic thaw snow and polar ice and a rise of the mean degree of the seas. A battalion of natural ecosystems are impacted by the regional clime alteration, in peculiar by the addition of the temperatures. Regional clime alterations starts to hold other effects on the natural and human environment ( mortality in Europe due to high temperature, disturbance on forest developments due to fires or parasitesaˆ¦ ) . However, a big portion of these effects are hard to divide due to version and non-climatic factors ( Dessler, 2012 ) 13.

A big figure of surveies agree to state that the human activity is the chief cause of the climatic development ( Burroughs, 2001 ) 14. Since the preindustrial period, a growing of 70 % of GHG emanation was affected to human activities ( analyze looking between 1970 and 2004 ) . If current policies do non reenforce extenuation, planetary GHG emanations will go on to increase in the following coevalss. If this augmentation appears, it is really likely that climate alteration will be more of import than those observed during the 20th century. This alteration can be felt by its negative impacts on H2O, ecosystem, nutrient production or wellness and can ensue on a lessening in the overall wellbeing ( IPCC, 2007 ) 15.

A driver for societal sustainability: Population addition. Frideman ( 2009 ) 16 said that “ the addition in population in the following 40 old ages is equal to the Earth ‘s population itself in the twelvemonth 1950 ” . Harmonizing with demographic surveies, the existent population is around 7 billion people and will increase to 10.1 around 2100. But this addition of population is unreassuring because of its exponentially ( Figure 1 ) 17. Indeed, we entered in a period of unprecedented development ( ONU, 2011 ) 18. This development highlights the eventual jobs for sustainability because population growings in parts like Asia or Africa where the degree of life is low ( low life anticipation, high mortality in grownups as in childrenaˆ¦ ) . So how we can move soon to apportion wealth if the figure of people in demand is increasing yearss after yearss? ( INED, 2012 ) 19 it ‘s easy to understand than the societal facet of sustainability joined the environmental and economic facets in the manner that “ figure of people ” and “ planetary rate of ingestion ” are relative. Green invention are necessary to give a response to this challenges, even for palliate to the first necessities. It appears clearly than undertaking director have to place this inventions and implement them in undertaking in order to improved planetary public assistance ( Maltzman ad Shirley, 2011 ) 12.

Figure 1: population growing adapted from Biraben ( 2003 ) 17

A driver for economic sustainability: Resources depletion V Nations development. As stated above, Hicks20 said in 1946 than value of capital is “ an sum one can devour during a period and still be every bit good off at the terminal of this period ” . This definition is still sound and now corresponds to what is called economic sustainability. As presented antecedently, economic system and population have suffered from a non mastered growing and it ‘s easy to understand than if population addition ( and it will be the instance ) and natural resources remain unchanged, even lessening, humanity will be faced to a ruinous planetary crisis ( Anand and Sen, 2000 ) 2. Society must happen solution to turn to these issues by altering is demands or happening replacement to them. So project and undertaking directors have to thinks in footings of preserve first necessities like nutrient or H2O, and on a largest graduated table, avoid pollutions like land, air or H2O ( Maltzman and Shirley, 2011 ) 12.

As we seen holla, implementing sustainability is non any more a pick but a necessity to better and maintained planetary public assistance. In that manner, economic, environmental and societal sustainability are principals ‘ driver to integrate sustainability into planetary behavior, even in undertaking and undertaking direction. But how it is possible to better prosperity without put upcoming coevalss ‘ life in danger?


Harmonizing to Cescau ( 2007 ) 21 the docket of sustainability and corporate duty is going ( besides being a cardinal point for concern scheme ) a critical driver for concern growing. The future success or failure of the companies during the following coevals depends on how good and how speedy they will react to this docket. But the inquiry is: if you are project director, what actions you would set in topographic point for incorporate sustainability successfully? ( Silvius et wholly, 2012 ) 22 A scope of attacks are presented below.

To be incorporated, sustainability must be implemented through scheme and organisation ( looking at missions, civilization geographics, customersaˆ¦ ) . Execution consists on alining organisation with aims, jointing tradeoff to directors and continually beef uping these aims through the undertaking life rhythm and organisation. There are two ways to implement sustainability in undertaking and undertaking direction. First, the soft manner, consist to make civilization in companies to guarantee that employees become cognizant of the importance to implement sustainability in hr ‘s determination devising. Second, the difficult manner, consist to implement systems like compensations, inducements and public presentation ratings utilizing societal and environmental indexs, or taking organisational construction to signal a committedness to sustainability. The right mix between soft and difficult system depend on the nature of the impact ( Epstein, 2008 ) 23.

Corporate administration:

Implementing sustainability in undertaking and undertaking direction starts with the top of the company. More than being drivers, board of way and seniors directors must be leaders in sustainability execution. So, if sustainability is considered on a company ‘s degree, the issues are close in construct from the planetary theory. In fact, sustainability in companies can be seen as input and end product measuring, looking at what resources are consumed and what resources can be regenerated ( Barnard, 2011 ; Epstein, 2008 ) 23, 24.

To most understand the impression of sustainable administration, it ‘s of import to hold a well apprehension of what is corporate administration. It ‘s possible to specify it as a manner for companies to carry through corporate aims and schemes. Moral administration can be recognized through some rules which are transparence, answerability, duty and equity, straight linked with a corporate societal duty ( Smerdon, 2007 ) 25. Good corporate administration has to look at the issues of sustainability covering with the three rules. But the bound of this analyse is than a attendant figure of companies meet troubles to specify and understand the relationship between internal administration and the different facet of sustainability. However, many betterments were noted twelvemonth after twelvemonth and it appeared that most companies understand the relationship between sustainability and good administration, the more they were able to run into the challenges that they faced ( Aras and Crowther, 2008 ; Michelon and Parbonetti, 2012 ) 8, 26.

To be sustainable, companies have to integrate the environmental and societal issues in their docket. There is no existent theoretical account of sustainable administration but every company have to construct its ain behavior concentrating on its motive and aims, seeking to near at most to a corporate societal duty. Furthermore, to analyzing if the administration of a company is sustainable, we have to look for four equal facets: societal influence, environmental impact, organizational civilization and finance. Organizational public presentation can be evaluate concentrating on internal /external facets and short/long term vision. This scrutiny, which highlight positive every bit good as negative, can be resumed in the matrix holla ( Aras and Crowther, 2008 ) 8.

Figure 2: Model of sustainable development adapted from Aras and Crowther ( 2008 ) 8

Looking at the matrix below, it ‘s easy to understand that it can be difficult to take in consideration internal and external factor every bit good as short and long footings vision in a manner to pull off viing stakeholders involvement and bettering the three rules of sustainability ( Epstein, 2008 ) 23.

Execution in undertaking and project direction:

First at all, it is necessary to understand the impression of undertaking direction. Through initiating, planning, put to deathing, monitoring, commanding and shutting stages of a undertaking, a undertaking director utilize his cognition, accomplishments, tools and techniques to turn to the needed issues of this undertaking. So pull offing a undertaking consist of placing demands, sing stakeholders involvements, demands and values, manage restraints as range, quality, budget, schedules or hazards and all this in the manner of accomplishing successfully the undertaking ( PMI, 2008 ) 24.

So Project director has to implement sustainability in all stairss of the undertaking through the Project Life Cycle. But it must concentrate on specific facets in all the different stairss of PM procedures. For illustration, to implement SD in the inaugural stage of a undertaking, PM must concentrate on range. For be aftering stage, he must look on aims. For put to deathing stage, PM needs to move on nucleus procedures. For commanding stages, he act more on facilitating procedures and for shuting stage, he must look every bit good on aims than on easing procedure. The PM have to look on undertaking, buttocks and merchandise life rhythm. ( Labuschagne and Brent, 2006 ) 28.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to do tradeoff between fiscal, environmental and societal public presentation and the response from stakeholders to this tradeoff can be significantly unsure. There are no criterion for implementing sustainability in undertaking and undertaking direction, tradeoff and cost for execution are altering and long footings net incomes or benefits are hard to measure. For these grounds, a batch of companies encounter troubles to implementing sustainability in the same clip than other strategic enterprises ( Epstein 2008 ) 23.

Implementing sustainability in undertaking can be started during the inaugural stage. For illustration, stakeholders can specify green aims to accomplish during the undertaking life rhythm. It ‘s besides possible to impute a per centum of the budget dedicated to better the undertaking in term of sustainability. But project need to be looked in a sustainable manner at all the stirrups of its realization, doing a SMARTER undertaking. So sustainability must be implemented in planning, processes, cost, quality, hazard and value stages of a undertaking ( Maltzman and Shirley, 2011 ) 12.

Measuring sustainability:

Epstein ( 2008 ) 23 said that “ It is merely through the designation, measuring and direction of sustainability impacts than societal, environmental and fiscal public presentations can be improved and value created ” .

Harmonizing to Silvius and Schipper ( 2010 ) 29, sustainability can be assessed through four degrees. The first degree is related to resources and its impact on sustainability. Objective consists on conserving the same functionality of the resource and in the same clip bettering its sustainability public presentation. One illustration of this betterment is use of electrics autos alternatively of mechanics. Acting on concern procedure related to resources is portion of the 2nd degree. Taking in consideration and except the beginning of a non-sustainable consequence is the chief action of this measure. For case, it ‘s possible to restrict the supplanting of its employees by optimizing a service direction procedure, like utilizing on-line conference tool alternatively of going to help to a meeting. Following degree focal point on concern theoretical account, viz. how merchandises or services can be delivered. For case, online store allows clients to order online and accordingly cut down it travels. Last degree takes in consideration the merchandise or service independently, merely looking how it can assist sustainability by itself. For case a merchandise that, in add-on to its responsibilities, will allow kids to larn more about sustainability.

Model for implementing societal and economic sustainability:

Undertaking director implement societal and economic sustainability by bettering societal public presentation. It take in consideration both drivers and impacts of this public presentation. This operation consist to modify organisational civilization and besides procedure in order to hike societal and fiscal public presentation. This alteration relies on models as ISO 14001. An illustration of models composed by 5 constituents linked one another is presented in the image below:

Figure 3: Drivers for sustainability and fiscal public presentation adapted from Epstein and Roy ( 2001 ) 30

Even if companies have to do some version to do this model feasible, they can better future corporate activities by supplying leading.

This model starts through the administration of the company. In fact, corporate and concern scheme attempt to take in consideration impacts and issues on sustainability public presentation and take determinations based on this cognition ( see administration portion ) . Business scheme refers for illustration to the designation of the keys stakeholders, to placing the societal, environmental and fiscal issues and to taking in consideration externals influences ( political, customersaˆ¦ ) .

It ‘s possible to mensurating impacts on sustainability public presentations utilizing different tools and techniques as, for case, benchmarking or surveies through Project Life Cycle.

Once impacts analysed, three “ sustainability actions ” have to be implemented. The first 1 consists to explicate a sustainability scheme. It ‘s necessary to integrate company ‘s ends, values and committedness in scheme and therefore fixe mark to better SP. The 2nd 1 consists to developing programs and plans through stakeholders or straight through altering its manner of making concern. The execution occurs in apportioning more resources to a peculiar field ( R & A ; D, new technologiesaˆ¦ ) , bettering selling publicity of SP ( communicating, assess public opinionaˆ¦ ) or airing external studies. The concluding action consists to planing appropriate construction and pull offing systems utilizing Environmental Management System ( EMS ) . Indeed, the hazards and duties have to be known and managed in a manner to better SP. Implementation and effectivity are quantified and measured utilizing sustainability keys public presentation indexs. These indexs are presented below ( Epstein and Roy, 2001 ; Weybrecht, 2010 ) 30, 31.

Sustainability indexs:

You can happen in the edifice sector more than 70 tools to analyze and sort building undertaking. These tools are based on sustainable indexs standards but stay uncertain ; so, diverseness of undertaking makes indexs subjective and debatable. Some administrations try to set more lucidity in this procedure. For illustration, the International Organisation of Standardisation attempts to homogenise these standards indexs to present a valid enfranchisement ( Fernandez and Rodrigez, 2010 ) 32. This job is recurrent in most of the sectors and the inquiry of how to specify valid sustainable standards index requires farther probes.

However, it ‘s possible to hold an overview of some methods to mensurate public presentation in undertaking and undertaking direction. For case, comparing between marks and existent SP is an indispensable technic for mensurating it. To supply strategic advantage, stakeholders ‘ analysis and relationship is a cardinal point in the procedure. Dividing stakeholders in groups ( as stockholders, staff, suppliersaˆ¦ ) , specifics indexs can be choose for each mark group ; for illustration the staff scrutiny can be measured by indexs as occupation security, employees satisfaction, rate of wagesaˆ¦ All these prosodies give a concrete step of sustainability public presentation in companies ( Epstein and Roy, 2001 ) 30.


To implement sustainability, the classics determination devising tools can be adapted to integrate sustainability facets. Pareto analysis, Force Field or Cost-Benefits analysis can go sustainable tools if companies adapt them in a sustainable manner. For case, the Cost-Benefits analysis can integrate “ green cost and benefits ” as input for its analysis ( energy savingaˆ¦ ) . Using this tools concentrating on sustainable facet can assist directors to take daily decisions-making. A big figure of tools looking on ordinance, moralss, morale and values are created and adapted to assist directors in decision-making procedure ( Farell, 1999 ; Maltzman and Shirley, 2011 ; Sekerka and Stimel, 2012 ) 12, 33, 34.

Sustainability hazards direction: Execution and benefits.

Presently, invest from companies in be aftering fiscal wake of environmental casualties stay really low nay unexciting. However, a batch of companies have to pay hard currency these effects because of the non-adapted insurance related to it. It is how company have to implement sustainability direction in the hazard analysis procedure at all degrees. An illustration of sustainable procedure direction hazard related to environmental sustainability is presented below:

Figure 4: The environmental hazard direction adapted from Anderson and Anderson ( 2009 ) 35

Pull offing successfully is hazard taking in consideration societal and environmental facets can avoid cases and losingss of money. But sustainability hazard direction affect the impression of long-run net incomes. Indeed, companies invest to forestall hazards but the impact of these hazards volitions occur during the following coevals. It is one of the chief ground than merely few companies are taking this hazards in consideration, prioritising trunkss footings investings ( Anderson and Anderson, 2009 ) 35.

But how it is possible to better prosperity without put upcoming coevalss ‘ life in danger? Day after twenty-four hours, companies recognized the necessity to integrate sustainability civilization through their administration, administration, communicating, one-year study and actions. This execution is drove by internal factors as direction committedness but besides by fiscal involvement in greater grosss and lower costs.

Understanding of stakeholders input and battle is a key in sustainability direction. Impact or relationship must be understood because they have a possible impact on long-run corporate profitableness and company moral force. Some benefits have already been mentioned before but we can explicate more concretely on what it is profitable for company to implement sustainability. Indeed, it ‘s a good concern determination in the manner than pull offing sustainability can avoid punishments or make primes ( for illustration, some Torahs exempt large companies in energy sector if they invest money for assisting people to do thermal betterment ) but can besides cut down legal costs, better productiveness ( less review give more clip for bettering other undertakings ) , avoid possible closing of operations and give a positive image and repute of the company which will ensue in positive consequence on concern ( Brackman and Rivera, 2011 ; Epstein, 2008 ; Pires, 1998 ) 23, 36, 37.


This essay was seeking to give an overview of the why and how integrated sustainability in undertaking and undertaking direction. All grounds to make it are and will be more and more available. The tools presented below are a good started to implement sustainability but people, companies and society need to do investing to better sustainability and going more greenish yearss after yearss. The long term profitableness and wellbeing for everybody rest on who good society, companies, undertaking and people will react to this cardinal challenge. Future will tell-us if Society is ready for that.


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