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SUSM640 Strategies For Sustainable Enterprise

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Course Code: SUSM640
University: University Of Waterloo

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Country: Canada


Students will be required to choose a specific enterprise (it should be one with which they are somewhat personally familiar) and develop a sustainability indicators monitoring system for that enterprise.
Examples of the enterprises you might consider include a plant nursery, a pet shop, a day care centre, a primary school, a carpet manufacturing business, a small zoo, an insurance office, a bank, an auto repair shop, a restaurant, a veterinary surgery, a home services business, a bookshop and many other possibilities.
To provide a realistic account of the enterprise you might need to access a web site or undertake a site visit.


Sustainable enterprise can be defined as the business that ensures negligible impact of its activities on the environment. In other words, sustainable enterprise is an enterprise that undertakes such processes which do not result in harmful impact on the community, society, economy and the global environment.  This means the requirements of triple bottom line is met by such enterprises. Along with this, such enterprises, actively participates in environmental friendly activities in order to ensure that the existing environmental concerns are adequately addressed by the products, processes and the manufacturing activities of such business. However, this do not diverts the business from the achievement of its basic objective i.e. sufficient profits (Brockhaus, Fawcett, Knemeyer & Fawcett, 2017).
Monitoring systems are being increasingly used by the enterprises for the purpose of measuring and monitoring business sustainability. Such monitoring systems perform its functions from time to time so that the effectiveness of the business operations can be maintained. When an organization installs proper monitoring system, the risks associated with the business are reduced to a great extent. This is due to the fact that monitoring systems provide the needed results on time thereby leading to effective decision making by the business at accurate timing. The growth of the businesses is also facilitated by proper monitoring systems as it offers a number of measures which can be utilized for the purpose of reducing the losses. However, this is possible only when the required updates are installed in such monitoring systems from time to time so that they can meet the requirements of the dynamic environment. The future performance targets are also defined with the help of these monitoring systems (Gbededo, Liyanage & Garza-Reyes, 2018).  High level managers are considered to be responsible for the maintenance of such monitoring systems in the workplace. They use the special skills possessed by them for maintaining such systems. Various organizational dimensions are represented by the various aspects of the monitoring systems such as socio- cultural, economic and environmental dimension. Effective indicators are required to be developed for the purpose of measuring such dimensions. This creates awareness in the business regarding its responsibility towards environment, economic activities and the society. Sustainability indicators provide proper direction to the business by making proper identification of its current path, current standing and the deviation of the actual and expected positions. This helps the business in bringing the required improvements in its performance (Geissdoerfer, Savaget, Bocken & Hultink, 2017).
The sustainability indicators provides the required alerts to the businesses before the unexpected circumstances takes place along with offering the solutions for the effective dealing with such situations. The weak points of the environment, economy and society are also indicated by these sustainability indicators. Modern indicators and traditional indicators are the two types of sustainability indicators. Traditional indicators measure the changes taking place in the various parts of the society by assuming that such parts are not dependent on other parts. On the other hand, modern sustainability indicators suppose that different segments are interconnected namely social, economic and environment (Epstein, 2018).

Figure 1 Environment, Society and Economy: A Nested Relationship
(Source: Bennett, James & Klinkers, 2017)
The figure provides the relationship between the environment, society and economy. The society is the part of this environment and the economy is the part of the society.  Therefore, the integrated view of the world is provided by the multidimensional indicators. The proper consideration of these indicators can assist in resolving the problems instantly. The system efficiency can also be improved with the help of these indicators as the business gains the required knowledge and is provided with guidance for overcoming the diverse problems. An organization which uses the monitoring system based on proper sustainability indicators is able to resolve complex problems and does not deviates from its path (Bennett, James & Klinkers, 2017).
This report focuses on the three dimensions of a sustainable enterprise ‘National Australia Bank’ namely socio- cultural, economic and environment. This report further provides the overview of the enterprise, sustainability indicators that apply to this enterprise and the list of indicators which can be used for the monitoring of socio- cultural dimension.
National Australia Bank- The Overview
National Australia Bank (NAB) is considered to be one of the largest financial institutions of Australia in terms of earnings, market capitalization and customers. The bank was formed in the year 1982 as National Commercial Banking Corporation of Australia Limited by the merger of Commercial Banking Company of Sydney and the National Bank of Australasia. The resulting company was then renamed as National Australia Bank Limited.  NAB promises its customers to be about “more than money”. They are committed to make it right for their customers along with working with the customers who suffer from any kind of financial loss for the purpose of ensuring that they are not unfairly impacted (National Australia Bank, 2018).
The bank clearly specifies that it has a special responsibility. The foundation of the business is based on the commitment to create more than what matters for the communities, people and the entire economy. This belief forms the basis of the motivation of their staff for performing the right thing, showing the required passion for their customers and showing the respect for their people. This responsibility is given prime importance in their strategy and their approach to corporate responsibility (Longoni & Cagliano, 2015).    
The majority of the financial service businesses of National Australia Bank operate in Australia and New Zealand. However, some of the other businesses of NAB are located in United Kingdom, Asia and United States. A commitment is shared by this brand for providing quality products and services to the customers with fir charges and fees. The basis of its relationships is the principles of guidance, help and advice which assist them in the achievement of better financial outcomes for their customers (Lozano, 2015).   
It adopts the approach to corporate responsibility in order to make a sustainable and positive impact on the lives of their customers, shareholders, people, environment and communities in which the business operates. It assisted more than 513,000 people with small loans since 2005 in partnership with Good Shephard Microfinance. The community investment made by NAB in the year 2017 amounted to $ 44.6 million. It also spent $ 13.4 billion in respect of the financial activities for the purpose of addressing climate change and supports the transition towards a low- carbon economy. NAB has 39% female representation on the group subsidiary boards (National Australia Bank, 2018).
Sustainability Dimensions
Triple bottom line has three key areas namely people, planet ad profit which are covered by the three sustainability dimensions namely socio- cultural, economic an environment. Sustainability dimensions play an important role in defining the importance of sustainability by specifying the way in which the entire world is impacted by the activities of the business (Jain, Keneley & Thomson, 2015).
Socio- cultural sustainability dimension can be defined as the organizational ability of assuring society’s welfare with respect to security, education and health. This is done by way of ensuring its equal distribution among social classes and gender. Different factors are included in the social dimension of sustainability such as health and satisfaction of employees, safety along with the effect on the customers and local community. This impact is also easy to be measured as compared to other dimensions of sustainability (Wagner, 2015).
National Australia Bank takes a number of steps in the form of initiatives in order to create positive social outcomes for customers, staff and community. Regional communities are also offered employment opportunities by the bank as a part of its social obligation. It has also made investments in community housing for the purpose of offering affordable and safe housing to people. More than 200 Indigenous Australian have been employed at NAB. The bank further provided 12 grants in the year 2017 and 2018 that focused on addressing the financial shocks, family and domestic violence and environmental wellbeing (Lodhia, 2015).
The next dimension is the economic dimension of sustainability which considers the organizational impact on the economic circumstances of the stakeholders. Therefore, the focus of this economic dimension is on bringing the requisite improvement in the economic status of such stakeholders. In other words, this dimension is not at all focused on improving the economic status of the company (Wilson, 2015).
The most important stakeholder of every bank is its customers as they play an important part in its survival. This economic dimension of sustainability is applied by NAB in its operations by assisting people in the fulfillment of their financial goals. This is done by National Australia Bank by ensuring the incorporation of various programs aimed in this direction. These programs are associated with lending and financing (Santoyo-Castelazo & Azapagic, 2014). Such programs are involved in the promotion of financial inclusion of people who are incapable of attaining access to typical banking activities. The community and the customers are given prime importance by National Australia Bank  and therefore, it aims at providing fair fees and better returns to them. The customers are significantly benefited by the customer owned model adopted by NAB. This model simplifies the banking services undertaken by the customers with the bank. They further encourage their members to volunteer, make donations and aim at bringing a social change for the Australians by supporting social purpose organizations that take steps for the communities. NAB also undertakes a Reconciliation Action Plan so that a positive change can be created in partnership with Indigenous Australia (Kolk, 2016).
The environmental dimension of sustainability aims at fulfilling the needs of present generation without compromising the needs of the future generations. This dimension considers the minimization of the impact caused by the organizational activities on the environment (Azapagic, Stamford, Youds & Barteczko-Hibbert, 2016). National Australia Bank takes a number of steps for protecting the environment and creating a healthy planet.
National Australia Bank has adopted a sustainable approach in order to manage their own business along with assisting their customers in doing so. From 2015 baseline, it took a number of steps for reducing the paper usage to the extent of 20 %. It has also spent $ 55 billion for addressing climate change by the year 2025. It has become the first bank that has issued Climate Bonds Standard certified by green bond (Hervani, Sarkis & Helms, 2017).
Socio- cultural Dimension as the specific Sustainability Area
The sustainability dimensional selected for National Australia Bank is the socio- cultural dimension. The selection of this dimension is based on the fact that NAB has undertaken a number of steps for the benefit if the society and the community. They care for their employees, customers and the society and aims and bringing a positive change in the society with the help of its activities.
List and Assessment of Indicators for Monitoring
National Australia Bank understands its responsibility towards the society and aims at the creation of the stronger community through volunteering, community grants, supporting Indigenous success and workplace giving. In other words, customers, community and the employees of NAB play an important role in its business operations. A monitoring system can be established by National Australia Bank for the effective monitoring of the socio- cultural dimension of sustainability. List of indicators facilitates the easy monitoring of the indicators. Therefore, some indicators have been developed which will assist NAB in the monitoring of socio- cultural sustainability dimension such as employment, education, human rights and health and safety.
Employment- Employment can be defined as an agreement taking place between two parties. The signing of the contract results in creating a relationship between them. The organization makes the payment to the employees for performing the required work. Australia suffers from the major problem of migration. Unemployment in other countries has led to the migration of people from those countries to Australia. NAB can utilize this indicator for the socio- cultural sustainability by considering existing job structures and unemployment (Husted & de Sousa-Filho, 2017).
NAB can take steps for the purpose of becoming an inclusive employer  in order to ensure that the employment remains in Australia and is offered to people who are in need for it. It should also measure the unemployment rates from time to time along with considering the region’s job structure so that further steps can be planned. However, migration of large number of people in Australia constitutes a major limitation or challenge. The social problems faced by the people in Australia also create a negative impact on the future growth opportunities of the labors (Thomas, Fugate, Robinson & Tasçioglu, 2016).
Education- Education is a process with the help of which an individual is able to make reasoning and judgments along with gaining knowledge regarding various subjects. An individual is able to lead a mature life with the help of education. The monitoring of this indicator can be facilitated by NAB by considering the R & D (research and development) and education levels of Australia. It is also being considered by NAB through programs for supporting the education of Indigenous people. However, the challenges which can be faced by NAB in the effective monitoring of this dimension include registration of the students and not attending classes. This is due to the fact that students resist from learning certain subjects such as science and therefore show lack of interest (Quarshie,  Salmi & Leuschner, 2016).  
Human Rights- The rights which are available to all the human beings equally are known as human rights. These rights are available irrespective of their language, color, national origin, sexual orientation and socio- economic stratum, etc. This indicator can be effectively measured by National Australia Bank by ensuring that there is equality in human rights in terms of workplace diversity. NAB should also support marriage equality by ensuring equal rights and opportunities for every individual (Mota, Gomes, Carvalho & Barbosa-Povoa, 2015).   
However, NAB may face certain challenges or limitations in the effective monitoring of this indicator such as encountering with waging humiliation battles from bank’s employee and community individuals. The human right equality may become difficult to be ensured due to hesitation of the customers and employees from different sexual orientation to come forward.
Health and Safety- Health and safety can be defined as the mental, physical and social well- being of an individual. Health and safety also covers the safety of an individual from various injuries, risk and dangers. The measurement of this indicator can be undertaken by NAB by proper monitoring of life expectancy rates and premature rates. NAB has already developed a Reconciliation Action Plan in order to reduce the life expectancy gaps between other Australian and First Peoples of Australia (Ortas, Álvarez, Jaussaud & Garayar, 2015).
The monitoring of this indicator may suffer from the challenge of unequal health care services between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. The effective measurement may get hindered due to the reason of slow progress in the life expectancy rates.

Indicator name





Employment can be defined as an agreement taking place between two parties that result in creating a relationship between them.

It can be measured with the help of existing job structures and unemployment.

Migration of large number of people in Australia constitutes a major limitation.


Education is a process with the help of which an individual is able to make reasoning and judgments along with gaining knowledge regarding various subjects.

It can be measured by considering the R & D (research and development) and education levels of Australia.

The challenge includes registration of the students and not attending classes.

Human Rights

The rights which are available to all the human beings equally are known as human rights.

It can be measured by ensuring that there is equality in human rights in terms of workplace diversity.

The challenge include encountering with waging humiliation battles.

Health and Safety

Health and safety can be defined as the mental, physical and social well- being of an individual.

It can be measured by monitoring of life expectancy rates and premature rates.

Unequal health care services between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders constitutes a challenge.

Therefore, it can be concluded that sustainable operations acts as the key behind the success of an enterprise. The focus of this report was on the three sustainable dimensions namely socio- cultural, economic and environmental dimension in the context of National Australia Bank. This report provided list of indicators for the monitoring of socio- cultural dimension of sustainability by National Australia Bank.  The indicators include employment, education, human rights and health and safety. The report further provided how these indicators can be effectively measured along with the challenges associated with it.
Azapagic, A., Stamford, L., Youds, L., & Barteczko-Hibbert, C. (2016). Towards sustainable production and consumption: a novel decision-support framework integrating economic, environmental and social sustainability (DESIRES). Computers & Chemical Engineering, 91, 93-103.
Bennett, M., James, P., & Klinkers, L. (2017). Sustainable measures: Evaluation and reporting of environmental and social performance. Routledge.
Brockhaus, S., Fawcett, S. E., Knemeyer, A. M., & Fawcett, A. M. (2017). Motivations for environmental and social consciousness: Reevaluating the sustainability-based view. Journal of cleaner production, 143, 933-947.
Epstein, M. J. (2018). Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental and economic impacts. Routledge.
Gbededo, M. A., Liyanage, K., & Garza-Reyes, J. A. (2018). Towards a Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis: A systematic review of approaches to sustainable manufacturing. Journal of Cleaner Production, 184, 1002-1015.
Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N. M., & Hultink, E. J. (2017). The Circular Economy–A new sustainability paradigm?. Journal of Cleaner Production, 143, 757-768.
Hervani, A. A., Sarkis, J., & Helms, M. M. (2017). Environmental goods valuations for social sustainability: A conceptual framework. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 125, 137-153.
Husted, B. W., & de Sousa-Filho, J. M. (2017). The impact of sustainability governance, country stakeholder orientation, and country risk on environmental, social, and governance performance. Journal of cleaner production, 155, 93-102.
Jain, A., Keneley, M., & Thomson, D. (2015). Voluntary CSR disclosure works! Evidence from Asia-Pacific banks. Social Responsibility Journal, 11(1), 2-18.
Kolk, A. (2016). The social responsibility of international business: From ethics and the environment to CSR and sustainable development. Journal of World Business, 51(1), 23-34.
Lodhia, S. (2015). Exploring the transition to integrated reporting through a practice lens: an Australian customer owned bank perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 129(3), 585-598.
Longoni, A., & Cagliano, R. (2015). Environmental and social sustainability priorities: Their integration in operations strategies. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(2), 216-245.
Lozano, R. (2015). A holistic perspective on corporate sustainability drivers. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(1), 32-44.
Lozano, R., Carpenter, A., & Huisingh, D. (2015). A review of ‘theories of the firm’and their contributions to Corporate Sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, 430-442.
Mota, B., Gomes, M. I., Carvalho, A., & Barbosa-Povoa, A. P. (2015). Towards supply chain sustainability: economic, environmental and social design and planning. Journal of Cleaner Production, 105, 14-27.
National Australia Bank. (2018). We’re NAB . Retrieved from https://www.nab.com.au/about-us
Ortas, E., Álvarez, I., Jaussaud, J., & Garayar, A. (2015). The impact of institutional and social context on corporate environmental, social and governance performance of companies committed to voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives. Journal of Cleaner Production, 108, 673-684.
Quarshie, A. M., Salmi, A., & Leuschner, R. (2016). Sustainability and corporate social responsibility in supply chains: The state of research in supply chain management and business ethics journals. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 22(2), 82-97.
Santoyo-Castelazo, E., & Azapagic, A. (2014). Sustainability assessment of energy systems: integrating environmental, economic and social aspects. Journal of Cleaner Production, 80, 119-138.
Thomas, R. W., Fugate, B. S., Robinson, J. L., & Tasçioglu, M. (2016). The impact of environmental and social sustainability practices on sourcing behavior. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 46(5), 469-491.
Wagner, M. (2015). The link of environmental and economic performance: Drivers and limitations of sustainability integration. Journal of Business Research, 68(6), 1306-1317.
Wilson, J. P. (2015). The triple bottom line: Undertaking an economic, social, and environmental retail sustainability strategy. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 43(4/5), 432-447

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