The Unpredictable Financial Environment of Sustainability : A Multiple Case Study Examining Risks Associated with Environmental Sustainability and Its Perceived Impact on Financial Performance

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Sammanfattning: Global warming and environmental impact are topics that have received increased attention in recent years. Research suggests that companies should take more responsibility for this impact. Scholars have expressed contradicting opinions on whether these sustainability initiatives result in new risks and thereby lead to worse financial performance or will benefit the organization. This qualitative multiple case study uses an abductive approach to examine how risks associated with environmental sustainability initiatives are perceived to impact financial performance as well as how these risks can be managed in practice. Based on existing literature on environmental sustainability, risk management, and financial performance combined with interviews conducted with six representatives from three different companies in the Swedish manufacturing industry, a framework is developed. The framework presents a link from sustainability initiatives to risks, which can result in negative impacts on financial performance. The study further shows a positive relation between sustainability and financial performance, indicating that financial benefits can be gained from working with sustainability. Additionally, it is found that sustainability-related risks should be managed differently than business-related risks in organizations. The presented framework therefore indicates a necessity of establishing sustainability risk management strategies. The four main strategies identified were i) creating a shared mindset which allows for understanding of risks in the organization, ii) increasing communication and collaboration across departments, iii) actively working with risk identification to understand its behavior, and iv) establishing constant revision of risk management strategies.

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