The PEARL Model: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Sustainable Development
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This article formulates institutional virtues according to sustainable development (SD) criteria to come up with a paradigmatic set of corporate principles. It aims to answer how a corporation might obtain competitive advantage by combining “going ethical” with “going green.” On the one hand, it brings out facts that indicate a forthcoming trend inclined to force relevant actors to comply with SD requirements. On the other hand, it suggests that SD may be implemented as a strategy to gain competitive advantage by the help of the PEARL model through its five fundaments: (1) perception friendliness, (2) environment friendliness, (3) action, (4) relationship, and (5) locality. This article finally shows that although a number of companies (e.g., Bosch, BP, and GE) implement SD as a tool of differentiation, they lack a holistic model that is fully responsive to current dynamics. The PEARL may be implemented as a proactive positioning to gain competitive advantage because transformation of this model into corporate strategy does not only respond to “stakeholder” claims, but also meets the changing characteristic of “societal demands.”
Keywordscompetitive advantage corporate social responsibility environment governance locality perception strategy sustainable development
The author thanks the organizers, secretariat, and participants of the International Sustainability Conference, Basel, 2005, as well as two anonymous referees and special issue editors for their comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this article.
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