Testing and Verification of a New Corporate Sustainability Assessment Method for Manufacturing: A Multiple Case Research Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSustainability. 2018, 10 . 10.3390/su10114121
This paper aims at answering the question of how to design a theoretically sound corporate sustainability assessment (CSA) method that can strengthen the ability of manufacturing companies to contribute to global sustainable development (SD). In our effort to answer this question, we conduct a case study to test a newly designed CSA method to develop assessment tools for each of four different case companies. The method combines criteria-based indicators development with qualitative system dynamics modeling based on mental models of decision-makers. This strategy ensures a holistic approach to what corporate sustainability and sustainable manufacturing are. The paper is intended to serve, first of all, as a practical guide to the development of CSA tools. The scientific value of the method is discussed in terms of how it assists in the development of a tool that provides the potential to overcome shortcomings of existing approaches to sustainability assessment and to embrace the complexity of the sustainability concept. From the case study results, we demonstrate the capability of the new method by showing how it satisfies scientific requirements to sustainability assessment and fulfills functions of CSA. We also show how it may overcome some of the observed limitations of existing CSA tools.