Sustainability: A key idea for business and society

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2022, pp. 1-152
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The heightening impact of ecological and societal crises makes sustainability an increasingly urgent imperative, requiring a fundamental shift in how we understand and practice management and business. In this book, the authors set out the key characteristics of sustainability such as its temporal and multilevel effects and highlight the complex array of sustainability risks and opportunities for business and management. Setting business within a systems perspective, the authors outline different sustainability discourses that frame how business responds to the sustainability imperative. They call for the normative and scientific approaches to sustainability to be merged so that a new transdisciplinary approach that brings together the material and relational traditions in sustainability management is developed. Sustainability work is understood as the reframing of tools, technologies, practices and business strategies to respond to the imperative. The book concludes by highlighting dynamic features of the imperative as it is shaped by the urgent need to restore and regenerate social and ecological systems. Sustainability transitions such as the Circular Economy and Net Zero are suggested as inspiration for profound business transformation. By facing the intractable complexity associated with sustainability, this book challenges students and scholars to draw from across the sciences and social sciences to understand, reflect upon and deliver responsible business outcomes in contemporary society.
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