Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 15–25

Stakeholders and Sustainability: An Evolving Theory


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1376-5

Cite this article as:
Gibson, K. J Bus Ethics (2012) 109: 15. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1376-5


This conceptual article has three parts: In the first, I discuss the shortcomings of treating the environment as a stakeholder and conclude that doing so is theoretically vague and lacks prescriptive force. In the second part, I recommend moving from broad notions of preserving nature and appeals to beauty to a more concrete analytic framework provided by the idea of human sustainability. Using sustainability as the focus of concern is significant as it provides us with a more tenable and quantifiable standard for action, as in the case of carbon offsets and development of measures such as the United Nations Sustainability Indicators. In the final section, I draw on notions of stewardship to suggest that stakeholder management has a positive responsibility to promote sustainability.


Stakeholder Sustainability Environment Nature Responsibility Management 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Philosophy and ManagementMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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