Exploring conditions for corporate sustainability strategy implementation : a case study of Essity’s feminine care
Sammanfattning: According to the United Nations (UN), the world is facing a constantly growing population and the average standard of living is predicted to improve all over the world. When people experience an increased income and living standard, they prioritise hygiene and health after the need for food and housing have been satisfied. Hygiene and health products include feminine care products for menstrual hygiene, such as tampons, panty liners and pads. An increased demand of hygiene and health products puts pressure on companies within the sector to produce products that can be affordable, accessible and environmental friendly. Further, since companies are exceedingly important for both social, environmental and economic development, they bear responsibility for sustainable development. In order for companies to act in a sustainable way, they can formulate corporate sustainability strategies that are set up to achieve certain goals and objectives. However, many companies tend fail to incorporate their strategy due to lack of knowledge concerning the implementation. Without having an action plan on how the corporate sustainability strategy should be implemented, the contribution to sustainable development cannot be made. Research within the field of implementation of such strategies including their contribution to sustainable development are scarce. Thus scholars are requesting more empirical research in this field. Inspired by the work of Engert and Baumgartner (2016), the authors of this thesis aims to identify and analyse conditions that enables the implementation of a corporate sustainability strategy within the feminine care sector. This thesis is carried out as a qualitative study with an abductive approach. The study is performed as a case study, where the authors look at one single case at one specific time in order to receive a snapshot of sustainability strategy implementation in a particular context. The case company is Essity, a global hygiene and health company. The study is performed at their feminine care category. The data collection is conducted through five semi-structured interviews. The company’s webpage and their Annual and Sustainability Report are used as secondary sources for the data collection. In the analysis and discussion, the authors connect the empirical data with theories about corporate sustainability, wicked and salient problems, strategy, corporate competitive strategies, VMOSA (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, Action Plan), implementation and implementation of corporate sustainability strategies. In the same chapter, the research questions are answered. Further, the theories are used as a basis to the authors’ own conceptual framework, which is used to analyse the findings. The authors conclude that conditions that can enable the implementation of a corporate sustainability strategy within the feminine care sector are: organisational structure, leadership, management control, employee motivation and qualifications, communication and external awareness. The findings are similar to what Engert and Baumgartner (2016) found, but this thesis excludes organisational culture and adds external awareness. The authors also found attributes which are necessary to be aware of. These are simplicity, understanding and commitment. The identified conditions can be applied to both Essity and their feminine care category, since much of what was found in the empirics is strongly connected to Essity. Even though the identified conditions do not exclusively suit the feminine care category, the findings are relevant for the aim and the authors highlight that the findings in this thesis are significant for this specific context. This thesis contributes to more knowledge about the implementation of corporate sustainability strategies. Further, managers are provided with insight and understanding about conditions and attributes that can enable the implementation, which can contribute to environmental, social and economic benefits for society.
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