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Towards corporate sustainability

: Kohl, Holger; Orth, Ronald

Garcia, L.:
5th European Conference on Intellectual Capital 2013. Proceedings : University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain, 11-12 April 2013
Reading: Academic Publishing International, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-909507-13-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-909507-15-9 (eBook)
European Conference on Intellectual Capital (ECIC) <5, 2013, Bilbao>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPK ()

Corporate sustainability can be defined as a business approach that creates and sustains the long-term value of a company by embracing opportunities and managing risks from three dimensions: the economic, environmental, and social perspective (Lo and Sheu 2007). In this context the development and use of intellectual capital (IC) provides an important lever for the implementation of sustainability management due to the fact that the IC of an organisation affects the performance of the three sustainability dimensions equally. A variety of sustainability management concepts point out the relevance of intangible resources whereas appropriate assessment and management approaches which reveal the contribution of IC are not or only very limited provided. Study results prove that the number of enterprises which are oriented towards sustainability has increased in recent years, but the implementation still encounters a variety of limits. This especially applies to small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Due to time and financial restrictions, many SMEs do not see themselves in a position to implement sustainable development as a part of the corporate strategy (Drenk 2009). Therefore concepts and methods have to be found in order to provide new and promising instruments in particular for SMEs which constitute the majority of Europe's economic strength. Within this research paper different aspects regarding the integration of Intellectual Capital and Sustainability Management in a SME context should be examined in detail. Against the background of the "Fraunhofer Integrated Model" the relevance of indicators for an integrated management approach will be highlighted. In the past, in particular quantitative indicators represented the largest share of measured variables. However, more and more non-monetary, qualitative indicators are increasingly included in the catalogues (Hirsch et al. 2004). Based on a systematic review of existing indicator catalogues, requirements and initial content for an integrated indicator format will be formulated. Against this background the aspect of benchmarking will be taken into account. The developed methodology is currently tested in a SME from the manufacturing sector. The last chapter of this paper will outline the preliminary results of this practical implementation.