Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 107-119

First online:

Multiple Levels of Corporate Sustainability

  • Marcel van MarrewijkAffiliated withVan Linden van del Heuvellsingel 7
  • , Marco WerreAffiliated with

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According to Dr. Clare Graves, mankind has developed eight core value systems,1 as responses to prevailing circumstances. Given different contexts and value systems, a one-solution-fits-all concept of corporate sustainability is not reasonable. Therefore, this paper presents various definitions and forms of sustainability, each linked to specific (societal) circumstances and related value systems. A sustainability matrix– an essential element of the overall European Corporate Sustainability Framework – is described showing six types of organizations at different developmental stages, with different forms of corporate sustainability, each supported by specific institutional arrangements.

ambition levels corporate social responsibility corporate sustainability ECSF European Corporate Sustainability Framework spiral dynamics sustainability matrix value systems