Assignment: Foundations of Sustainability TaxonomyAs an independent scholar and current or future business professional, you may become responsible for initiating or managing sustainability efforts. When presented with the opportunity, you may question, “How do I initiate a sustainability strategy, and what steps would I need to take to manage sustainability so that it will satisfy the immediate and long-term needs of the organization?” There are CEOs who are successful in implementing and managing sustainability initiatives and, like you, they have probably pondered the same question. Having the foundational works of theorists may help you find the answer to this question because within these theories are constructs or tenets that, when applied, can shape your own view of and strategic approach to sustainability for the mitigation of problems.This week, you have an opportunity to become familiar with some sustainability theories and theorists and their theories. Consider theories related to the principles within the literature, as well as culture, systems, and/or human resources. Remember, you are free to select the theories of your choosing. As you prepare your taxonomy table, identify areas that may require further investigation. To prepare for this Assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources as well as any additional sources of your choosing. Research the theorists who developed theories that will help you implement the corporate sustainability model and compile key information as part of your review. three foundational sustainability theories in the form of a properly formatted, APA-compliant taxonomy table. For each of the theories you select, you should include the following:
The name of the theory
The date the theory was introduced
Key components of the theory
For each theory presented, be sure to include a minimum of two references to peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, as well as appropriate in-text citations.
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Articles from Integral Leadership Review
11/30 – Leveraging Integral Leadership to Shift
Sustainability Mindsets into a ThriveAbility Paradigm
2015- 11- 30 14:11:17 Bill Baue and Robin Wood
Bill Baue and Robin Wood
T o achieve sust ainabilit y, we need t o t ranscend t he sust ainabilit y paradigm –
a limit ing mindset t hat (count er-int uit ively) has only succeeded in solidif ying
unsust ainabilit y. We need t o t ranscend and include sust ainabilit y by
int egrat ing it int o a new met a-paradigm t hat spawns syst ems designed t o
t hrive, sust ainably. T o get f rom here t o t here, int egral leadership t urns out t o
be a key t hat unlocks t he conundrum of how t o shif t mindset s f rom wherever
t hey are now (indeed, many leaders are st uck in pre-sust ainabilit y mindf rames), t o a shared perspect ive f ocused on enabling us all t o not only survive
but also t hrive.
Here’s t he problem in a nut shell: t he sust ainabilit y movement has f ailed t o
produce sust ainabilit y; indeed, over it s near half -cent ury t enure,
environment al, social and economic unsustainability have increased. For
example, Eart h Overshoot Day – when humanit y’s Ecological Foot print
out st rips our biocapacit y t o absorb our impact s and regenerat e vit al
resources wit hin a year – has crept f orward f rom December 23, 1970 t o
August 13, 2015, an overdraf t of an ext ra half -planet each year now. And
income inequalit y and wealt h gaps are widening, dest abilizing our social
f oundat ions. And t hese are only t wo indicat ors of t he great accelerat ion
hurt ling us int o exponent ial decay.
T aking a cue f rom Donella Meadows’ seminal 1999 “Leverage Point s: Places
t o Int ervene in a Syst em” essay: if we want syst ems t hat promot e
sust ainabilit y and t hriving, we need t o shif t our mindset s – and t hereby also
t he syst ems t hat t hose mindset s creat e – t o project posit ive f ut ure
pat hways. Meadows t wo highest leverage point s are:
T he mindset or paradigm out of which t he syst em — it s goals, st ruct ure,
rules, delays, paramet ers — arises; and ult imat ely,
T he power t o t ranscend paradigms.
T he sust ainabilit y movement has generally f ocused all it s at t ent ion on
syst ems, wit hout st epping back t o consider t he psychology and
development al mat urit y underpinning t hose syst ems. So, in order t o t ranscend
t he sust ainabilit y paradigm (t hat is f ailing t o achieve it s namesake object ive),
we need a massive mindset shif t , t o envision a world where we respect our
planet ary boundaries – and our f ellow humanit y – as a f oundat ion f or t hriving.
T his is precisely what t he T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion (T AF) envisions. And we
see t he solut ion in building f rom t he f oundat ion of Integrated T hinking – which
synt hesizes t he mult iple capit als across t he t riple bot t om line – t o Integral
T hinking, which t akes a holist ic yet st rat if ied approach, by working wit h
individuals and organizat ions where t hey’re at t o inspire t hem t o move
t owards where t hey can t hrive.
In t his way, T hriveAbilit y alchemizes t he sust ainabilit y paradigm int o an
Int egral paradigm. T o support t his agenda, T AF has been part icipat ing in a
series of event s t hat merge t he Sust ainabilit y and Int egral communit ies.
For example, in early Oct ober, T AF convened a Gat hering (host ed by Ernst &
Young at t heir Bost on of f ices in t he John Hancock T ower) t hat brought
t oget her sust ainabilit y pioneers, such as Global Report ing Init iat ive (GRI) CoFounder and Global Init iat ive f or Sust ainabilit y Rat ings (GISR) Founder Allen
Whit e and Cont ext -Based Sust ainabilit y (CBS) and Mult iCapit al Scorecard
(MCS) Conceiver Mark McElroy, wit h pioneers of Int egral Science such
as Susanne Cook-Greut er, Maureen Met calf , and Christ opher & Sheila Cooke.
T he Gat hering came on t he heels of moment um generat ed earlier in t he week
at t he Sust ainable Brands New Met rics Conf erence t hat compellingly
capt uring t he double-edged sword of our global predicament : imminent doom
if we cont inue down our current pat h, count er-balanced by unprecedent ed
opport unit y of paradigm-shif t ing t oward T hriveAbilit y. (Prof . Yehuda
Kahane of t he YK Cent er pronounced T AF Founder Robin Wood’s Plenary
Present at ion f ollowed by t he Plenary Panel moderat ed by T AF Co-Founder
Bill Baue t o be an “Hist oric Moment ” – while his colleague T al Ronen more
colorf ully described it as a “WT F! Moment ”).
Wit h t his as t he backdrop, t he T hriveAbilit y Gat hering at EY f eat ured T AF CoFounders Wood, Baue, and Ralph T hurm present ing t he core concept s of
T hriveAbilit y – and more import ant ly, nurt uring dialogue amongst t he
sust ainabilit y and int egral leaders. Longt ime T AF colleague Christ opher Cooke
described t he event as a “wat ershed t urning point ” f or T hriveAbilit y, f or t he
f irst t ime t ruly f using t he syst ems t ransf ormat ion imperat ive of sust ainabilit y
wit h t he psychological t ransf ormat ion pot ent ial-t apping of int egral
T he day ended wit h Sheila Cooke post ing a f ormula on t he wall:
Consciousness (Ability to Handle Complexity)
(Complexity of) Life Conditions
T his dist illat ion has prompt ed t he T hriveAbilit y T eam t o ref ormulat e our
T hriveAbilit y Calculus and Equat ion t o express consciousness expansion and
lif e condit ion complexit y in t angible t erms conveyed t hrough t he mult iple
capit als: social, human, nat ural, manuf act ured, f inancial, int ellect ual, and
T hroughout t he f all, T AF curat ed a series of online T hinkT anks (or virt ual
dialogues) on Doughnut Sust ainabilit y Goals, Int egral T hinking, and Cult ural /
Leadership Shif t s. We engaged wit h hundreds of t hought leaders across a
wide variet y of disciplines and inst it ut ions, in order t o road-t est our t hinking,
met hods and t ools, as well as t o ensure we are building on what works in t he
f ield wit h part ners t hat can helps us all scale what is working f ast . T AF works
wit h t hree kinds of part ners:
Alpha Part ners are organizat ions t hat would like t o pilot t he T hriveAbilit y
Program and underst and how t o generat e T rue Fut ure Value f or t heir
Delt a Part ners are consult ant s and agent s of change and
t ransf ormat ion keen t o learn how t o lead and f acilit at e aspect s of t he
T hriveAbilit y Approach;
Omega Part ners provide st rat egic guidance and f unding t o t he
T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion.
In November, t he T hriveAbilit y T eam has been road-t est ing t his new
f ormulat ion at a series of event s, including:
T he Integrated Thinking Symposiumin New York Cit y on November 5,
where Ralph present ed t he Keynot e Address on Int egral T hinking (and
Bill also moderat ed a panel)
T he Reporting 3.0Conf erence in Berlin on November 13, where t he T AF
T eam (Robin, Ralph, and Bill) host ed a workshop f eat uring Capit al
Inst it ut e Founder John Fullert on exploring it s not ion of Regenerat ive
Capit alism as a means of applying a t op-down T hriveAbilit y
implement at ion at t he economy-wide and bioregional level, and T he
Crown Est at e’s Claudine Blamey considering how it s T ot al Cont ribut ion
account ing met hodology could apply a bot t om-up T hriveAbilit y
implement at ion at t he company level.
A T hriveAbilit y Mast erClass in London November 19 & 20 delivered by
Robin and T hriveAbilit y T rust ee Paul van Schaik along wit h Christ opher
Cooke t o deliver a Mast erclass geared part icularly t oward Delt a
Part ners (i.e. consult ant s who implement t he T hriveAbilit y Program).
T he T hriveAbilit y Mast erClass is designed t o help part icipant s develop
provisional answers t o 8 key quest ions t hat a T hriveAbilit y Pilot project
1. What is t he Current St at e of t he Syst em-in-Focus? (Normally the
participant’s own organization and its key stakeholders, or a consultant’s
2. Where Does t he Syst em Need t o Be?
3. What is t he Development al St age of t he Syst em?
4. How Well is t he Syst em Being Led?
5. What is t he Pot ent ial of t he Syst em?
6. What Measures Really Mat t er in t he Syst em?
7. How Does St rat egy in/f or t he Syst em Need t o be Dif f erent t o Realize
T rue Fut ure Value?
8. T hriveAbilit y Score – What is t he Organizat ion’s Fit ness?
Fut ure T hriveAbilit y Mast erClasses are scheduled f or:
London – 20-21 January at t he Psychosynt hesis T rust in cent ral London
Net herlands – 15-16 February (dat es and locat ion T BC)
Berlin – 18-19 February (dat es and locat ion T BC)
Bost on – 24-25 March (dat es and locat ion T BC).
As a Global Public Good, t he T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion f unct ions as an
aggregat or and accelerat or of t ransf ormat ional change, f ueled by t he
collect ive energy of our st akeholder ecosyst em — so we welcome your
engagement . Please plug in wit h us in one of t he upcoming event s, or reach
out t o join our part ner net work.
About the Authors
Bill Baue – Corporate Sustainability Architect
As an int ernat ionally recognized expert on ThriveAbility, Sustainability Context,
and Online Stakeholder Engagement, Bill Baue designs syst emic t ransf ormat ion
at global, company, and communit y levels. A serial ent repreneur, he’s cof ounded a number of companies and init iat ives:
T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion, which is designing a mult i-capit al operat ing
syst em f or a regenerat ive, inclusive global economy
Sust ainabilit y Cont ext Group, a global communit y of t hought leaders
and pract it ioners who advocat e f or Cont ext -Based Sust ainabilit y;
Convet it , an online st akeholder engagement plat f orm;
Sea Change Radio, a globally syndicat ed podcast on sust ainabilit y.
Baue has co-aut hored / -edit ed several books and report s, including:
A Leader’s Guide to ThriveAbility (2015 T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion)
Hairshirts, Rattlesnakes, and Shoelaces: Toward A Net Positive Movement
(2015 Sust ainable Brands & Convet it )
Raising the Bar – Advancing Environmental Disclosure in Sustainability
Reporting (2015 UNEP)
Next Generation Sustainability Targets: Toward Big, Context-Based Goals
(2014 Sust ainable Brands)
The Accountability Web: Weaving Corporate Accountability and Interactive
Technology (2010 Harvard)
Sustainability Progress to Date 2007–2008 (2007 First -ever Walmart
Sust ainabilit y Report )
Baue has consult ed wit h companies including Allst at e, Cabot Creamery
GE, and Merck, among ot hers. And he has worked wit h organizat ions across
t he sust ainabilit y ecosyst em, including Account Abilit y, Audubon, Ceres, Global
Compact , UNCT AD, and Worldwat ch Inst it ut e.
He t eaches in t he Marlboro Sust ainabilit y MBA, and serves on t he T echnical
Advisory Group of t he WWF / WRI / CDP / UNGC Science Based Targets
init iat ive. He blogs f or Guardian Sustainable Business and Sustainable Brands,
where he also co-curat es t he # NewMet rics Channel.
He lives in a cohousing communit y in t he Pioneer Valley of West ern
Massachuset t s wit h his wif e Jiyanna and daught ers Clara, Emma, and Aoif e.
Robin has lived and worked in 35 count ries on 4 cont inent s. T hrough his
passion f or t ransf ormat ion and healt hy globalisat ion, he has helped a f ew
hundred of t he world’s largest organisat ions cat alyze major benef icial change
and t ransf ormat ion. His lif elong passion f or Environment al and Social Just ice
means he’s been an act ivist f or 40 years, including co-leading t he campaign
f or Nelson Mandela’s release and t he end of apart heid. 24 years ago he
worked wit h t he World Bank t o develop t he f irst sust ainable energy st rat egy
f or t he f irst Rio conf erence. 21 years ago he helped t o creat e t he modern
Int ernet and what we now know as E-Business wit h t he pioneering f irms of
Silicon Valley. He has f ounded several businesses bot h as an int rapreneur in
Cit icorp, Ernst and Young and NYNEX/Verizon, as well as ent repreneurial
vent ures such as Genesys, T elesure and Chat eau La T our Apollinaire. Robin
has been advising business and polit ical leaders at all levels including many
well known CEO’s and prime minist ers, as an int egrally inf ormed pract it ioner,
social ent repreneur and int egral leader. Since creat ing t he Renaissance2
Foundat ion in 2008 at La T our Apollinaire, his green Chat eau in France, Robin
co-f ounded t he T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion in London wit h his world-class
colleagues t o help leaders make more T hriveAble decisions t hrough t he
T hriveAbilit y Approach, Program and Index.
Robin is also t he aut hor of several books, including t he award winning
“Managing Complexit y”, “T he Great Shif t ”, “Lif eshif t 2020”, “T he T rouble wit h
Paradise” and “A Leader’s Guide t o T hriveAbilit y”. He earned a doct orat e at
London Business School f or his work on t he st rat egic alignment wheel, and
holds degrees in economics, law and int ernat ional f inance, and qualif ied as an
advocat e of t he Supreme Court of Sout h Af rica. For f urt her inf ormat ion,
please go t o www.rlw.zone.
T he T hriveAbilit y Foundat ion is a global public good designed t o co-deliver a
t hriving, inclusive operat ing space f or humanit y wit hin a regenerat ive f oot print
t hrough a t ransf ormat ive, values-based approach t o decision-making and
governance at alls scales, f rom communit ies t o organisat ions t o nat ions t o
market s. T hrough int egrat ed decision modelling of t he seven capit als using
t he T hriveAbilit y Equat ions, leaders can align breakt hrough st rat egies wit h
st akeholder aspirat ions t hat deliver t hriveable compet it ive advant age.
T hrough t he T hriveAbilit y Index, invest ors are able t o select a port f olio wit h
superior perf ormance based on t he innovat ion pat hways and collaborat ions
inf ormed by t he mult i-st akeholder T hriveAbilit y program and T rue Fut ure
value calculat ions, using science-based goals. For f urt her inf ormat ion, please
go t o www.t hriveabilit y.zone.
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ISSUES IN ACCOUNTING EDUCATION
Vol. 30, No. 4
American Accounting Association
Challenges in Sustainability and Integrated
Lies Bouten and Sophie Hoozée
ABSTRACT: Students are introduced to the concepts of sustainability reporting and the
latest trend, integrated reporting, by playing the role of an active jury member on the
judging panel for the Best Belgian Sustainability Report Award. Through the reporting
practices of Telenet, a Belgian telecommunication company, the case demonstrates the
pivotal role of materiality and completeness in assessing the quality of sustainability
reporting. Moreover, by revealing that an integrated strategy is crucial in the
development of an integrated report and by demonstrating the importance of connecting
financial and sustainability-related performance indicators, the case exposes students to
the challenges that companies may face in developing their integrated reporting. The
case also encourages students to critically reflect on the motivations behind
sustainability reporting. In addition, through the active process of analyzing the disclosed
information, students learn to formulate hands-on recommendations for improvement.
This master’s-level case is appropriate for either general financial reporting courses that
incorporate contemporary reporting trends or more specific accounting courses on
corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability, accountability, or ethics.
Keywords: completeness; corporate social responsibility (CSR); integrated reporting;
materiality; social and environmental reporting; sustainability.
or more than a decade, the Belgian Institute of Chartered Accountants (IBR-IRE),1 in
cooperation with Business & Society Belgium and the multi-stakeholder network, Kauri,
have been granting a yearly award for the Best Belgian Sustainability Report. The submitted
reports can take the form of stand-alone sustainability reports, corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Lies Bouten is an Assistant Professor at IÉSEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS) and Sophie
Hoozée is an Assistant Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Ghent University.
We thank Lori Holder-Webb, Hervé Stolowy, and two anonymous reviewers for their encouraging comments. We also
express our gratitude to Patricia Everaert, Brian Godor, Robyn King, and participants of the 2014 37th EAA Annual
Congress (Tallinn, Estonia, May 21–23) for their feedback on earlier drafts of this case. Finally, thanks are due to our
students who have constantly challenged us in order to make this case a better learning experience.
Supplemental materials can be accessed by clicking the links in Appendix A.
Published Online: March 2015
Instituut van de BedrijfsRevisoren-Institut des Réviseurs d’Entreprises.
Bouten and Hoozée
or social/environmental reports, or integrated reports. You have just been named to the jury and you
are asked to assess the sustainability reporting practices of Belgian companies. This case will walk
you through the process of reviewing the submitted report of Telenet, a telecommunication
company that employs about 2,000 people in Belgium. At the time of publication of this article the
2011 Telenet Annual Report was publicly available on the Telenet website. The report is also
provided as a supplemental file by permission of Telenet.
Telenet provides cable television, high-speed Internet, and telecom services, primarily to
residential customers in Flanders and Brussels. It also provides services for companies in Belgium
and Luxembourg. Telenet’s shares are listed on the Euronext Brussels Stock Exchange and it is part
of the BEL20 stock market index. Since September 2011, Telenet has been a member of the Dow
Jones Sustainability Europe and the Dow Jones Sustainability World indices. As of March 2012,
Telenet has also been included in the FTSE4Good Index.
In line with academic research, the jury acknowledges that organizations can only discharge
accountability duties if their reports are complete, i.e., if they provide a true and fair account of the
sustainability-related policies, practices, and impacts that are material to their stakeholders. Hence,
companies should not only report their intentions, but also their actions and subsequent performance
concerning material sustainability issues (Adams 2004; Adams, Hill, and Roberts 1995; Robertson and
Nicholson 1996; van Staden and Hooks 2007). To define materiality, the jury refers to the AA1000
Framework, according to which material issues ‘‘will influence the decisions, actions and performance
of an organization or its stakeholders’’ (AccountAbility 2008, 12).2 Only when stakeholders have been
consulted or involved can reports cover all aspects that are material from a stakeholder perspective. The
supplemental appendix3 explains how Telenet has determined what issues could be considered as
material and contains information on the construction of the materiality matrix (see Appendix A for a
link to the downloadable supplemental appendix). This matrix plots the issues on a scale from low to
high in terms of their impact on the company (horizontal axis) and their impact on the stakeholders
(vertical axis). As a member of the jury, you need to evaluate whether the sustainability informatio …
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