Five Characteristics of Sustainable Companies

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Lelie Brokaw is a Contributing editor, MIT Sloan Management Review, @mitsmr Faculty, Emerson College, Dept of Writing, Literature and Publishing
Cambridge, MA.

This article is published in the MIT Sloan Management Review

What differentiates sustainable companies from traditional ones?
In “How to Become a Sustainable Company,” an article that will appear in the Summer 2012 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review and is available now as a special preview, authors Robert G. Eccles, Kathleen Miller Perkins and George Serafeim conducted more than 200 interviews in more than 60 companies to explore how sustainable companies were innovating.

“Currently, organizations that exhibit a broad-based commitment to sustainability on the basis of their original corporate DNA are few and far between,” the authors write.

Instead, most companies become sustainable through conscious and deliberate efforts. To show how the transformation occurs, the authors studied organizational models of both “sustainable” and “traditional” companies.
Among the findings:

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