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Integrating sustainability with business strategy – the Swedish chemical industry
Stockholm University, interfaculty units, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to investigate perceptions of sustainability in relation to business

strategy within the Swedish chemical industry. To this end, a survey was

distributed with the assistance of industry organization Plast- och Kemiföretagen

to companies that are part of the Responsible Care® program.

A second purpose of the study is to explore critical factors when implementing an

integration of sustainability with business strategy. To do this as well as dig deeper

into a couple of questions raised in the survey, a qualitative study was carried out

at Akzo Nobel business unit Pulp and Paper Chemicals (operating under the brand

name of Eka Chemicals). Semi-structured interviews were performed with seven

company representatives from different organizational levels, to explore critical

factors identified in a literary study.

From the survey, it could be concluded that the studied companies considered

sustainability as an important issue today and with growing importance for the

future. It was also observed that sustainability is currently not an issue at the core

of business strategy, as 35% of respondent companies did not think that top

management handled issues related to sustainability. Enhanced reputation and

cost reduction/resource efficiency were seen as the primary creators of business

value when addressing sustainability. Additional top motivating forces to consider

sustainability were legislative demands and company core values.

From the literary study a model of critical factors when implementing changes in

strategy was developed. Four different aspects identified were explored in the

semi-structured interviews at Eka Chemicals: change leadership, shared vision,

sense of urgency and aligning goals. In that specific setting, the critical factors of

having a shared vision and aligning individual, organizational unit and corporate

goals were found to exist to a high degree, while the critical factor of change

leadership was only partially existent, and a sense of urgency not existent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 75 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainability perceptions, change management, Responsible Care
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7826OAI: diva2:199114
Available from: 2008-05-19 Created: 2008-05-19Bibliographically approved

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