Skip Navigation Links Home Research & Insights Conceptualizing and incorporating social sustainability in the business world
  • Author

    Ajmal, M.M., Khan, M., Hussain, M., Helo, P.

  • Year Date

    19 May 2018

  • Location

    College of Business, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Department of Production, University of Vaasa, Finland.

  • Category

    Business Management, Sustainability

Conceptualizing and incorporating social sustainability in the business world.


One of the most important challenges faced by business managers today is the integration of sustainability into their core functions. The contemporary enterprise is forced to leap forward from the mere adoption of green practices toward rethinking, redesigning, and redeveloping business practices in a more sustainable way. Most of the initiatives in this attempt have so far emphasized primarily the economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development and overlooked the social dimension of sustainability. As more organizations commit to sustainability, there is an increasing concern to incorporate social sustainability throughout their business operations. To conceptualize and integrate the notion, some organizations use preexisting indicators to demonstrate the value and impact of sustainability, while others look beyond the measurement of impacts by constructing their own system of indicators. This paper draws on a comprehensive literature review to determine a broadly acceptable framework of social sustainability indicators to be conceptualized and integrated into the business world. Findings suggest that economic and environmental sustainability can be driven together with core social factors including fairness and equality, poverty, health, education, delinquencies, demography, culture, and employee engagement within an organization. These results offer insight into the emerging phenomenon of formulating sustainable business strategies for organizations based on social indicators to attain the ultimate sustainable outcomes. This study is among the first to identify social sustainability indicators from societal and corporate perspectives. It offers a comprehensive social sustainability framework that may be adopted by organizations in the business world. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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