Special Issue "Business Strategies concerning the Sustainable Development Goals and the SDG Compass"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Beatriz Aibar-Guzmán
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Financial Economics and Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: corporate social responsibility; corporate social reporting; sustainability business ethics; eco-innovation; management accounting
Prof. Dr. Cristina Aibar-Guzmán
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Financial Economics and Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: corporate social responsibility; corporate social reporting; sustainability assurance; business ethics; eco-innovation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) explicitly call for the active involvement of companies to transform political agreements into real environmental and social changes. This implies, at the same time, a challenge and an opportunity for companies which can lead to a “win-win” scenario in which their contribution to sustainable development provides companies with long-term competitive advantages and new business opportunities. However, achieving the SDGs not only requires companies to “do things differently” (i.e., behave in a way that is more compatible with sustainability) but also to “do different things”. Therefore, companies that rise to meet this challenge will find that the SDGs lend meaning and focus to their competitive strategies and value-creation process. Indeed, business contribution to the SDGs requires integrating the SDGs into companies’ core competitive strategy, organizational culture, and business model. In this sense, the SDG compass provides a guide to help companies in this process, explaining how to formulate, execute and communicate SDG-related strategies.

Researchers have highlighted the need to create and implement a sustainable business model based on the integration of the SDGs into long-term strategies and to search for innovative solutions to the challenges arising in this regard. However, more research is needed to understand how companies can contribute to the SDG being met and how their integration into business strategies can create value for the company and enhance firm performance. This Special Issue aims to fill this gap and calls researchers from various academic disciplines to address the study of a broad spectrum of topics related to busines strategies concerning the SDGs and the SDG compass, including:

  • Business contribution to the SDGs;
  • The SDGs as a strategic tool for corporate management and governance;
  • Strategic change associated with the adoption of the SDGs by companies;
  • The SDGs and value creation;
  • Explaining factors of the adoption of the SDGs by companies (i.e., firm size, industry, country, profitability);
  • SDGs implementation;
  • Human resource management and the SDGs;
  • Entrepreneurship as a means of tracking the SDGs;
  • Collaborative approaches (e.g., public–private partnerships, alliances) as a means of pursuing the SDGs;
  • The SDGs and product development;
  • Eco-innovation as a means of tracking the SDGs;
  • Integration of the SDGs into the companies’ information system;
  • The reporting of corporate social responsibility (CSR) information in the framework of the SDG compass;
  • The integration of SDG-related objectives into the companies’ performance evaluation system;
  • Market opportunities from SDG-related strategies;
  • The SDGs as a guide for investments and new business opportunities;
  • The SDGs as a guide for reducing costs and risks;
  • Capital markets and the SDGs.

All methodologies and research approaches (e.g., conceptual, empirical, and case studies) are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Beatriz Aibar-Guzmán
Prof. Dr. Cristina Aibar-Guzmán
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • 2030 Agenda
  • SDG compass
  • SDG reporting
  • sustainable development
  • corporate social responsibility
  • business trategy
  • strategic change
  • eco-innovation
  • entrepreneurship

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Insertion of Sustainable Practices in Small and Medium-Sized Companies: Analysis of the Main Barriers in the Brazilian Metalworking Sector
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011488 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 214
Abstract
The main objective of this study was characterised by analysing the barriers associated with the insertion of sustainable practices in small and medium-sized companies in the metalworking sector, considering the Brazilian reality. Thirteen barriers were previously listed from the literature, and information about [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was characterised by analysing the barriers associated with the insertion of sustainable practices in small and medium-sized companies in the metalworking sector, considering the Brazilian reality. Thirteen barriers were previously listed from the literature, and information about them was collected from 24 experienced managers who know the realities of small and medium-sized companies in the sector. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. The frequency distribution showed that in each barrier, there was more than 50% of the responses allocated in the upper range, that is, medium or intense observation, demonstrating that SMEs experience many difficulties in this theme. When comparatively analysed via Fuzzy TOPSIS, difficulties associated with lack of knowledge and financial resources/incentives that can support SMEs in adopting sustainable practices are highlighted. The main contribution of this study is to provide robust information that company managers and other researchers can use. In addition, the provided information can support more complex debates for structuring public policies. Full article
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Article
The Coronavirus as a Disrupter of a Sustainable Small Early Childhood Family Business in Vietnam
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10692; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910692 - 26 Sep 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Access to quality early childhood education is a sustainable development goal towards empowering people in an emerging economy. The purpose of this study is to examine how the coronavirus disease impacted a small early childhood business in Vietnam, which experienced two waves of [...] Read more.
Access to quality early childhood education is a sustainable development goal towards empowering people in an emerging economy. The purpose of this study is to examine how the coronavirus disease impacted a small early childhood business in Vietnam, which experienced two waves of attacks. Previous studies have examined mainly the impact of various factors under stable environments. This study differs in that COVID-19 brought sudden, lasting, and impactful changes to the business environment. The study uses a case-study research approach that invited a small business owner to write and share the biography of the business from the start to the date of the research study and analysed the content using the theory of planned behaviour. The shared belief systems of a business to succeed led the owner to invest loan funds and join the company that became successful with planned actions. Dependence on a rental property later stalled the business growth. The owners settled into a stable way of business thinking. The two waves of coronavirus pandemic in Vietnam that affected their business location dried up cash, forcing the business into voluntary liquidation. The impact of coronavirus disease on small business in an emerging nation, Vietnam, can bring out lessons of business survival and ways policymakers can assist companies in surviving considering their capital structures under destabilising business environments. The qualitative causes found for the theory of planned behaviour can become useful for a later quantitative investigation. Full article
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Article
How Transformation Catalysts Take Catalytic Action
Sustainability 2021, 13(17), 9813; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179813 - 01 Sep 2021
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The challenges that are associated with the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals are wickedly complex and interconnected in nature. Because they require transformational changes at the systems level, the pace of change has, so far, been nowhere near fast enough to meet [...] Read more.
The challenges that are associated with the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals are wickedly complex and interconnected in nature. Because they require transformational changes at the systems level, the pace of change has, so far, been nowhere near fast enough to meet the goals by 2030. In this paper, we analyze the catalytic actions of a novel form of organizing that could potentially facilitate the timely achievement of transformational aspirations such as the SDGs: the transformation catalyst (TC). By identifying 27 TCs and analyzing their vision, mission, values, and their practices represented on their websites, we elaborate the following four key ways that TCs are distinctive from other entities, and therefore potentially more capable of facilitating transformational changes at the systems level: (1) TCs have transformation agendas that target systems-level solutions to bring about large-scale and fundamental changes in the relevant system(s), as opposed to more incremental or fragmented approaches; (2) TCs engage in catalytic actions, such as connecting, cohering, and amplifying the work of partners and collaborators; (3) TCs clearly acknowledge the current status quo, attributions, and urgency (i.e., sensemaking) of the issues on which they focus; and finally, (4) TCs embody systems orientation. In exploring how TCs work, we hope to build a solid conceptual framework for understanding the nature of transformative catalytic action on societal issues, and consolidate our understanding of what elements are needed if TCs are to work, providing a starting point for future research. Full article
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Article
Corporate Philanthropy Strategy and Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5655; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105655 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
This paper investigates the charitable giving of Chinese firms from the perspectives of four sustainable development goals (SDGs), including Economy, Operation, Harmony, and Management. By converting corporate financial data into four independent variables, namely Economy, Operation, Harmony [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the charitable giving of Chinese firms from the perspectives of four sustainable development goals (SDGs), including Economy, Operation, Harmony, and Management. By converting corporate financial data into four independent variables, namely Economy, Operation, Harmony, and Management, this study explores philanthropic giving for SDGs. The empirical evidence shows that corporate philanthropy has a significant and positive effect on EconomyOperation and Harmony, and it is negatively related to Management. This study finds that the sample firms would undertake some social responsibilities for the economic and political benefits of legitimization or corporate philanthropy. Full article
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Article
How Can Cultural Values and Entrepreneurship Lead to the Consideration of Innovation-Oriented or Non-Innovation-Oriented Countries?
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4257; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084257 - 12 Apr 2021
Viewed by 657
Abstract
This study provides an analysis of the existing relationship between culture, entrepreneurship, and orientation towards innovation at the national level. Drawing on the creation of an Artificial Neural Network, and using a sample of 37 countries, this paper aims to catalogue each country [...] Read more.
This study provides an analysis of the existing relationship between culture, entrepreneurship, and orientation towards innovation at the national level. Drawing on the creation of an Artificial Neural Network, and using a sample of 37 countries, this paper aims to catalogue each country as innovation-oriented or non-innovation-oriented considering the six cultural dimensions proposed by Hofstede’s model and the country´s entrepreneurial activity. The results achieved suggest that three of the cultural dimensions—long-term orientation, individualism, and indulgence—are positively associated with the consideration of a country as innovation-oriented, but one of them—uncertainty avoidance—is associated with the consideration of a country as non-innovation-oriented. On the other hand, while power distance and masculinity do not seem to be significant variables in this analysis, the entrepreneurial activity rate is associated with countries classified as non-innovation-oriented. This study aims to shed light on the relationships between cultural values, entrepreneurship, and orientation towards innovation, providing valuable information for stakeholders, mainly those belonging to private sector and governments, when designing strategies aimed at creating favourable environments for the development of a country’s technology, research, and innovation. Full article
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Article
Driving Consumer Engagement through Diverse Calls to Action in Corporate Social Responsibility Messages on Social Media
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073812 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 574
Abstract
Although a growing number of consumers acknowledge the importance of firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, how companies can effectively communicate these initiatives to consumers is still a challenge. Although the rise of social media platforms has provided firms with opportunities for more [...] Read more.
Although a growing number of consumers acknowledge the importance of firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, how companies can effectively communicate these initiatives to consumers is still a challenge. Although the rise of social media platforms has provided firms with opportunities for more immediate and interactive communication with consumers, recent academic studies related to social media have mostly focused on effective communication of promotional messages, and relatively little attention has been paid to prosocial messages. For better communication, social media branded messages have encouraged user participation (i.e., calls to action), but how diverse types of calls to action can generate consumer engagement remains unexplored. Using over 2000 branded posts from popular consumer product brands on Facebook and Twitter, this research explores diverse types of calls to action that drive consumers’ attitudinal (i.e., likes) and behavioral (i.e., shares) engagement with CSR-related messages on social media. The research findings suggest that the types of calls to action matter in the effectiveness of CSR messages. Specifically, CSR messages inviting consumers to brand-related programs or games generated a greater number of likes and shares. However, the overall engagement was lower when CSR messages encouraged further conversations, and rewarding consumers was also less effective. Finally, the results show that multiple calls to action within one message decrease engagement. Overall, this study contributes to the academic literature and management by providing new insights and actionable guidelines on how to encourage user participation when designing CSR messages to enhance consumers’ attitudinal and behavioral engagement within social media, thereby contributing to sustainable development while enhancing the effectiveness of marketing communications. Full article
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Article
Does a Company’s Profitability Influence the Level of CSR Development?
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063304 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 591
Abstract
The objective of this paper is to analyze the effect of economic and financial performance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For this reason, we have used the data from a sample made up of 662 companies, 146 registered as medium-sized or large and [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to analyze the effect of economic and financial performance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For this reason, we have used the data from a sample made up of 662 companies, 146 registered as medium-sized or large and 516 as small or micro, highlighting the significant weight of small companies in the sample. CSR has been measured using an indicator estimated from the data gathered by way of a questionnaire containing information related with the economic, environmental, and social dimensions. The analysis has been conducted by estimating panel regression models with robust errors. The results show a negative relationship between economic performance and more CSR activities implemented, supporting the Managerial Opportunism Hypothesis. Furthermore, large companies under the pressure of stakeholders are more prone to implementing certain CSR actions than small ones, meaning that a minimum size is essential according to this research. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Planned paper 1

Title: Supply chains’ failure in workers’ rights with regards to SDG compass: A doughnut theory perspective

Author: Maryam Lotfi

Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK

Abstract:

Many supply chains have pledged to prevent the violence in workers’ right as part of social sustainability with regards to SDG compass in their far-flung supply chains. This paper provides a way to understand why supply chain fails to overcome the violence in workers’ rights. Taking the lens of doughnut theory, the paper concludes that supply chains have shortfalls in all aspects of the social foundation when it comes to workers as one of their main stakeholders. Until supply chains are unsuccessful in overcoming all these shortfalls, moving to the next layer which is the safe and just space for all humans including workers is impossible.

Key words: Workers’ rights, SDG, Doughnut theory, supply chain, social sustainability


Planned paper 2

Type of Paper Research Paper

Tentative Title: Is the Indonesian Village Fund Effective and Aligned with Achieving the SDGs? 

Authors: Paulina Permatasari, Irwanda Wisnu Wardhana, Carol Tilt, Dian Lestari, Saiful Islam, Rita Helbra Tenrini, Arif Budi Rahman, Agunan Samosir, Assyifa Szami Ilman

Affiliations: Parahyangan Catholic University, Indonesia;  Fiscal Policy Agency, Ministry of Finance Republic of Indonesia, Indonesia.   University South of Australia, Australia; University of Indonesia

Abstract: 

This study analyzes the Indonesian Village Fund (VF) Program by mapping each VF-related activity to all 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals); and then determines an SDG-based budget composition of the VF in 2018, 2019 and 2020. This study uses data from all villages in Indonesia, and is the most comprehensive study that addresses the knowledge gap between VF utilization and SDGs by analyzing the distribution of the use of the VF. The objectives of this paper are: (1) to provide the extent of VF usage to provide evidence on whether their utilization is aligned with targeted SDGs, and (2) to provide information about village activities that were funded by the VF that is linked to each SDG. The results from this analysis can be used to encourage the Government to socialize and provide an understanding of SDGs to village leaders.

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