Today, academics consider ‘sustainability’ to encompass social impacts and resulting justice implications as well as environmental impacts. But in the realm of ‘Sustainable Business,’ the perspective is usually very different. For all the recent discussions surrounding sustainable business, the focus has been nearly always on ecological impacts of business and business activity, while the impacts of business on society, social groups, and communities has been largely overlooked. This is perhaps understandable—the issues are complex, social impacts may be examined at different stakeholder levels (e.g., regions, communities, indigenous populations, employees and families, shareholders, customers, etc.), and metrics designed to indicate impact are less-easily observed and thus harder to document than the smoky discharge from a polluting factory. There are steps being taken toward recognizing, understanding, and measuring social actions and impacts by businesses, though these steps are in the relative early stages compared to ecological impact reporting.
I propose to conduct the following research:
Results from this research will be publishable in both academic and
practitioner-oriented sustainable business publications and it will enrich
teaching in sustainable business at Seattle University and other schools who
use the resulting best practices framework.