Clarifying the Concept of Corporate Sustainability and Providing Convergence for Its Definition

Mariapia Pazienza*, Martin de Jong, Dirk Schoenmaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Organizations are under mounting pressure to adapt to and to adopt corporate sustainability (CS) practices. Notwithstanding the increasing research attention given to the subject and the meaningful theoretical contributions, it is claimed that a definition, and a commonly accepted understanding of the concept of corporate sustainability, is still missing. Alignment on the meaning of CS is of critical importance for enabling coherent and effective practices. The lack of a sound theoretical foundation and of conceptual clarity of corporate sustainability has been identified as an important cause of unsatisfactory and fruitless actions by organizations. To address the questions “What is Corporate Sustainability?” and “Is it true there is a lack of convergence and clarity of the concept?”, we perform an ontological analysis of the different and interrelated concepts, and a necessary condition analysis on the key constitutive features of corporate sustainability within the academic literature. We demonstrate that the concept of corporate sustainability is clearer than most authors claim and can be well defined around its environmental, social and economic constitutive pillars with the purpose to provide equal opportunities to future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7838
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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