Business Strategies for Sustainability


A Research Anthology; Proposal deadline 30 Jun 2015

Chapter Proposals Due: June 30, 2015 or before
Full Chapters Due: March 31, 2016 or before


Edited by:

  • Dr. Helen Borland, Aston University, UK
  • Professor Adam Lindgreen, Cardiff University, UK
  • Professor Joëlle Vanhamme, Edhec Business School, France
  • Dr. François Maon, IESEG School of Management, France
  • Professor Véronique Ambrosini, Monash University, Australia
  • Dr. Beatriz Palacios Florencio, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain

Publisher: Gower Publishing


The purpose of this research anthology is to bring together important research contributions that demonstrate different approaches to business strategies for sustainability. The underlying premise of the anthology is that all sustainability and sustainable development—be it economic, social, psychological, cultural, or ecological—is underpinned by ecological sustainability because it provides the essential life-support systems on which humans and all other species depend. It is from a position of ecological sustainability that we are able to develop both integrated and separate strategies for economic, social, psychological and cultural sustainability, climate change and resilience in different settings in order to identify and help solve some of the most difficult challenges facing human society today (Borland & Lindgreen, 2013; Borland, Ambrosini, Lindgreen, & Vanhamme, 2015; Howard-Grenville, Buckle, Hoskins, & George 2014; Kelley & Nahser, 2014).

Ecological sustainability is defined as the capacity for continuance into the long-term future, by living within the constraints and limits of the biophysical world (Porritt, 2007). It represents a goal, endpoint, or desired destination for the human species, as much as for any other species, and can be explained, defined, and measured scientifically. Sustainable development instead refers to the process for moving toward sustainability; it implies trying to achieve sustainability, but often seems poorly defined and difficult to measure. To achieve a sustainable human future, sustainable development generally includes economic, social, and cultural elements, as well as environmental ones, though Porritt (2007) considers those elements secondary goals, because all else is conditional on living sustainably within the Earth’s systems and limits. The pursuit of ecological sustainability thus is non-negotiable (Porritt, 2007; see also Mort, 2010) and attitudes, values and behavior towards it need to evolve rapidly (Van der Werff, Steg, & Keizer, 2013).

The urgency of the ecological sustainability predicament drives the search for new ways of living and conducting business (Hart, 1997; Mort, 2010). Yet, many corporate initiatives toward what firms perceive to be sustainability are simply efficiency drives or competitive moves (Unruh & Ettenson, 2010)—falling far short of actual strategies for ecological sustainability. To suggest true ecological sustainability strategies, we adopt an interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary (Gladwin et al., 1995), approach to discern what business strategies might look like if they were underpinned by environmental and ecological science. In particular, an ecocentric epistemology offers an alternative cultural and mental framework that focuses on the whole system or ecosystem and the balance of all species and elements (i.e., rocks, water, and gases of the atmosphere). Humans thus move from their cosmologically central and egocentric position, in which the whole of nature exists only for their exploitation with no intrinsic value (Gladwin et al., 1995; Kilbourne, 1998; Kilbourne et al., 2002; Purser et al., 1995), to a more balanced site in the larger system that demands greater appreciation of and respect for other species and planetary resources (Borland & Lindgreen, 2013; Borland et al., 2015; Du Nann Winter, & Koger, 2010; Porritt, 2007; Shrivastava, 1995; Whiteman et al., 2013).

Overall objective and topics

The research anthology aims at investigating widely different angles of business strategies for sustainability. Regardless of the specific topic, we hope to receive two types of contributions:

  1. Literature reviews that survey critical points in the current literature relevant to the topic. Literature reviews should describe, summarize, and critically evaluate previous work relating to the topic. These reviews must make a significant contribution to our understanding of the topic by providing integrative framework(s) and/or paths for further research.
  2. Conceptual, methodological, or empirical studies, such as meta-analyses, qualitative studies, experiments, or surveys, that contribute in some of the following ways:
    1. A conceptual study might improve conceptual definitions of original constructs, develop an improved theoretical rationale for existing linkages, identify and conceptually define additional constructs to include within existing conceptual frameworks, or develop theoretical linkages along with an accompanying rationale that suggest more comprehensive integrative frameworks for understanding the topic.
    2. Methodological entries might examine changes in the design of prior studies or modifications in experimental procedures that, for example, enhance the validity of statistical conclusions or increase the experimental realism of the experiment.
    3. An empirical study could examine how, at a practical level, organizations deal with the complexities of setting a firm’s strategic direction in order to achieve sustainability and/or sustainable development.

The text will be in English. To ensure an engaging text for the target audience (see below), chapters should be accessible; something similar to California Management Review’s, Harvard Business Review’s, or MIT Sloan Management Review’s style would be ideal. Spelling and punctuation follow US standards. Although the methodology should be described, especially in conceptual, methodological, and empirical chapters, the focus should be less pronounced than it would be in traditional academic articles; part(s) of the methodology even might appear in an appendix. All chapters should include theoretical contributions and managerial implications. The editors will be happy to discuss whether a particular chapter is of an appropriate style.

Target audience

This text will target various different readers, including the following: academics who teach and/or research in the business strategies for sustainability field; doctoral students in the discipline; practitioners who want to know more about sustainability, especially in terms of strategic implications for organizations; and others who could benefit from the research presented in such an anthology.

Submission process

Potential authors are invited to submit, on or before June 30, 2015, a brief, two- to five-page proposal that clearly explains the intended contributions of their chapter, as well as their intended methodology/approach.

Chapters submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or under consideration for publication anywhere else. However, chapters may draw upon previously published work by the authors. Proposals should be submitted via e-mail in a single Word file attachment to Dr. Beatriz Palacios Florencio, The first page of the proposal should contain the title of the intended chapter, as well as the authors’ names and full contact details.

The purpose of reviewing the proposals is to identify those potential chapters that fit the overall theme of the book. In some cases, we may propose suggested changes to align the proposed chapter better with the book; such changes will take place only in a dialogue with the authors.

By July 31, 2015, potential authors will be notified about the status of their proposed chapter and receive further information regarding the submission process, including the formatting guidelines. Full chapters should be submitted via e-mail in a single attached Word file to Dr. Beatriz Palacios Florencio, by the final deadline of March 31, 2016. Final submissions should be approximately 5,000-6,000 words in length, excluding references, figures, tables, and appendices. All chapters will be double-blind reviewed by colleagues who also have contributed to this research anthology and thus are knowledgeable about the overall project. Authors must not identify themselves in the body of their chapter.


Please address any questions to:

Professor Adam Lindgreen, Ph.D.
Cardiff University


Borland, H. & Lindgreen, A. 2013. Sustainability, epistemology, ecocentric business and marketing strategy: Ideology, reality and vision. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(1): 173-187.

Borland, H., Ambrosini, V., Lindgreen, A. & Vanhamme, J. 2015. Building theory at the intersection of ecological sustainability and strategic management. Journal of Business Ethics (Online First).

Du Nann Winter, D. & Koger, S. 2010. The psychology of environmental problems, 3rd ed. New York: Psychology Press, Taylor Francis Group.

Gladwin, T., Kennelly, J., & Krause, T.S. 1995. Shifting paradigms for sustainable development: Implications for management theory and research, Academy of Management Review, 20(4): 874-907.

Hart, S. 1997. Beyond greening: Strategies for a sustainable world. Harvard Business Review, 75: 66-76.

Howard-Grenville, J., Buckle, S., Hoskins, B. & George, G. 2014. Climate change and management. Academy of Management Journal, 57: 615-623.

Kelley, S. & Nahser, R. 2014. Developing sustainable strategies: Foundations, method and pedagogy. Journal of Business Ethics, 123: 631-644.

Kilbourne, W.E. 1998. ‘Green marketing: A theoretical perspective’, Journal of Marketing Management, 14(6): 641-655.

Kilbourne, W.E., Beckman, S.C., & Thelen, E. 2002. The role of the DSP in environmental attitudes: A multinational examination, Journal of Business Research, 55(3): 193-204.

Mort, G.S. 2010. Sustainable business, Journal of World Business, 45(4): 323-325.

Porritt, J. 2007. Capitalism as if the world matters. London: Earthscan.

Purser, R.E., Park, C., & Montuori, A. 1995. Limits to anthropocentrism: Toward an ecocentric organization paradigm? Academy of Management Review, 20(4): 1053-1089.

Shrivastava, P. 1995. The role of corporations in achieving ecological sustainability, Academy of Management Review, 20(4): 936-960.

Unruh, G. & Ettenson, R. 2010. Growing green: Three smart paths to developing sustainable products, Harvard Business Review, 95(3): 94-100.

Van der Werff, E., Steg, L. & Keizer, K. 2013. The value of environmental self-identity: The relationship between biospheric values, environmental self-identity and environmental preferences, intentions and behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 34: 55-63.

Whiteman, G., Walker, B. & Perego, P. 2013. Planetary boundaries: Ecological foundations for corporate sustainability, Journal of Management Studies, 50(2): 207-336.