An Approach to Sustainability Management across Systemic Levels: The Capacity-Building in Sustainability and Environmental Management Model (CapSEM-Model)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonSustainability. 2021, 13 (9), . 10.3390/su13094910
A toolbox for assessing the environmental impacts of processes, products and services has been gradually developed over the last 30 years. The tools and methods place attention on a growing holistic concern to also consider stakeholders’ views connected to impacts of the entire life cycle of products. Another change is the gradual increase in consideration of the economic and social dimensions of sustainability since the 1990s. This paper presents this development using two interlinked models that illustrate the changes from the scopes of time and system complexity. The two initial models are further merged into one, the Capacity-building in Sustainability and Environmental Management model (the CapSEM-model), which presents organizations a systemic way to transition to sustainability, seen from the scopes of system complexity and performance complexity. The CapSEM-model attempts to integrate the different dimensions of systems and of methodologies and their contribution to increased environmental and sustainability performance. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are further mapped onto the model as an example of how they can be useful in the transition to sustainability. The model is, therefore, a conceptualization and needs further development to specify accurate level boundaries. However, it has proven to be helpful for organizations that struggle to find a systematic approach toward implementing sustainability. This is described through a brief example from the manufacturing industry.