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Sustainability 2013, 5, 2389-2420; doi:10.

3390/su5062389
OPEN ACCESS

sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050
www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability
Article

Assessment of the Impact of Business Activity in Sustainability
Terms. Empirical Confirmation of its Determination in
Spanish Companies
María Luisa Pajuelo Moreno
Financial Economy and Accounting Department, Faculty of Business and Tourism Studies, University
of Extremadura, Avenida de la Universidad, s/n, 06071, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain;
E-Mail: mpajmor@unex.es
Received: 30 March 2013; in revised form: 27 April 2013 / Accepted: 15 May 2013 /
Published: 31 May 2013

Abstract: Because the issue of sustainability presents urgent problems crucial to the future
of mankind, there has been serious discussion of the role accounting should play. In this
context, a new line of research, still at a relatively unexplored, embryonic stage, has arisen,
which tries to establish measurement of business sustainability and so compensate for the
lack of information currently existing about the net impact of the company‘s activity. Full
Cost Accounting could allow sustainability to be translated into the language of business,
together with analysis and comparison of its progress, so it might be the most appropriate
vehicle for more participatory, democratic accounting, with greater dialogue, giving the
accountant a much more active role, this being necessary in order to generalize the
research, development and use. To analyze the current situation, a survey of 192 Spanish
companies was carried out to obtain at first hand the perception of strategic positioning
adopted with regard to Sustainable Development, measurement of the contribution of
business activity to its achievement and the rendering of accounts carried out.
Keywords: sustainable development; externalities; manager‘s perceptions; theoretical
model; measuring sustainable development performance; environmental management
accounting; full cost accounting; reporting; theoretical model

1. Introduction
While the nature and seriousness of the threat are not confirmed, there is a general awareness of
deterioration in the planet‘s health [1], because, essentially, reputable scientific sources are in

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agreement that we are faced with a cocktail of serious environmental problems, which do not respect
the borders between countries. The Earth‘s ecosystems cannot sustain present levels of economic
activity and consumption, and new management frameworks are necessary to alleviate this pressure
and ensure social integrity [2].
In this context, because companies cause many environmental impacts and even catastrophes,
society has begun to demand that they accept their responsibility, so driving the expansion of corporate
responsibilities in social and environmental matters [3]. As a consequence, the legitimation described
by Shocker & Sheti [4], has been proposed as an alternative to the profit model, and offers companies
the opportunity to legitimate their behaviour and procedures in the eyes of society. So, by virtue of a
―social contract‖ [5], companies begin to assume that, unless they want to see their survival threatened,
they need to operate with a value system in accordance with that of the society in whose eyes they are
being legitimated [6]. This will shape their strategies as well as one of the basic functions of Social and
Environmental Accounting [7], such as the publication of social and environmental information [8].
So, no-one, i.e., neither corporations, individuals (including managers and accountants), or
governments [9,10], can stand aside given the legal and moral responsibility we have to our
environment, because the environment provides resources and satisfaction to everyone, accumulates
waste and supports life [11]. This awareness has been reflected in profound political, economic and
social changes and in a call to action [12] in a global framework (even a binding one like the
Kyoto Protocol).
In this context, if we accept the above, the limited traditional model becomes the ―new model of
sustainability‖, producing a necessary, radical reorientation of human relationships, and therefore,
relationships of companies, with their environment, where Sustainable Development (hereafter SD)
becomes the immediate goal, because, as Pearce et al. [13] identify, from a realistic point of view this
is a pragmatic, practical response, allowing more radical reorientations to be sought later and
undertaken as long-term goals.
Therefore, from both the anthropocentric and non-anthropecentric points of view, consensus
recommends that the Earth‘s resources must be protected [14] to guarantee at a minimum, a
―sustaining level of activity.‖ Essentially, sustainability is the maintenance of at least a certain stock of
resources such as natural habitats, fauna, water or air, and worldwide global sustainability should be
attained [15]. In the business context, this means at a minimum that companies should not leave the
environment worse than it was at the beginning of the accounting period (―maintaining the capital
stock‖) [10,16]. It is, therefore, imperative that the impact of their activity be measured, because
companies may have positive indicators of success in the shape of growth and profits, while at the same
time they pollute the air and water, fire employees, destroy habitats and devastate communities [17].
To carry out this measurement and provide the decisive answers to the environmental threat, it will be
necessary to influence economic decision making and involve accounting [18]. So if this need is
accepted, there are two interrelated premises:
(a). Conventional accounting is inadequate: Traditional accounting practices are deficient because
they do not include sustainability quantitatively, a situation which has endured because of its
capitalist orientation, business focus, confidence in neoclassical economics, the predominance
of numerical quantification, monetary dependence and various technical aspects of these

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practices [17]. This has caused unsustainable decisions due to the existence of incorrect prices [19], or
cost-saving opportunities to be missed because of lack of information [20] or aggregation in
general expense accounts [21].
(b). Need for active, participatory, democratic, dialogic accounting: The increase in research and
development in Social and Environmental Accounting has developed internationally in parallel
with the international debate about the phenomena of greenhouse gases, global warming,
human rights, deforestation, land degradation and pollution [22]. Therefore we advocate a form
of accounting which can give a suitable, up-to-date view of the world, models reality and can
be a participant in company strategy as well as in the creation of its information systems, which
cannot be separated from the company‘s internal and external social processes. For all these
reasons, a proactive and participatory [23], multidimensional (integrating economic, social and
environmental aspects) and dialogic (taking not only shareholders but also a wide variety of
stakeholders into account) [24], and, therefore much more democratic and pluralist form of
accounting needs to be developed. The goal will be the search for transparency and the
discharge of accountability, which will be achieved by combining the functions of financial
accounting, to guarantee that this form of accounting is minimally obligatory, and general
accounting, to guarantee the necessary willingness to achieve ―self-regulation‖, with flexibility.
a.a.1. External or obligatory accounting: financial accounting: Because of this deficiency, and
the disparity of criteria [25], heterogeneousness and lack of comparability of traditional
accounting systems, numerous authors (e.g., [26,27]) and international organizations of
various kinds have declared the need for this information to be included in annual
accounts, as well progressive international harmonization (European, IASSB and FASB).
a.a.2. Internal or voluntary accounting: management accounting: Because the traditional
accounting system does not cover what is required [26,28], environmental management
systems and environmental management accounting can provide the opportunity to adapt
knowledge to new realities and increase the social utility of relationships between
business and nature. This subdiscipline of management accounting will therefore cover
both monetary and physical aspects, making it suitable for performing a huge variety of
relevant functions in company management [29], one of which is measurement of the net
impact of its activity, which has aroused great interest among managers [5,17,30,31].
In addition, it can provide different perspectives and indicators, the Full Cost Accounting
(hereafter FCA) being a perfect tool for monetary measurement of the sustainability of an
activity and the net social result.
It should not be forgotten that accounting and all its disciplines is essentially a field of applied
research, so it is difficult to imagine such research without detailed examination of current practices [32].
Therefore, there is a need for new forms of participation in accounting, which is provided by
administrative and management functions [24,26,33–37]. To achieve this, it is essential that managers
help to develop and implement environmental management accounting and its different tools [38],
which will integrate and seek sustainability through performance of these functions:

there has been a recent increase in the number of studies proposing different models to try to assess the contribution of business activity to Sustainable Development (hereafter SD) (for example. in recent decades. 1991) in the field of environmental management [39]. study of the role of accounting as a support for environmental management has also been empirically analyzed [43]. although most studies have focused on analysis of the environmental information published in the companies.14. culture and philosophy. so it is difficult to imagine such research without detailed examination of current practices [32]. As a result. The active role of accounting in the organizational change related with interaction with society and the introduction of environmental management practices.16. in recent years the rendering of sustainability accounts and transparency in Corporate Social Responsibility [41. 5 2392 (a).e. (b). empirical analysis was carried out using the survey method. i.. annual reports. . From these studies.‖ For this reason.44–62]. after the previous literature had been developed. In this way. Planning and decision making: Information is not an end in itself. innovation and experiments are not very common in academic work [64]) but not the perception of the main stakeholders in the integration of sustainability in business management. as companies have been required to act more coherently with SD and social and management accounting. With the aim of contributing towards this recent line of research. It should not be forgotten that accounting and all its disciplines is essentially a field of applied research. Management accounting system elements used in environmental management. ―Information is key to transformation. and mainly covers the following subjects: - The links existing between accounting and environmental management. does not adequately capture the consequences of the company‘s activities on the environment. the managers. where it is hoped to establish the determinants of business sustainability strategy. which highlight the need for more critical reflection about the consideration and internalization of external factors.10. Definition of Environmental Management Accounting and information about its current practices. this analysis has been carried out on a survey sent to Spanish companies in sectors whose activity has an important impact on the environment. Rendering of accounts: As Meadows et al. After presenting the main results.19. The reason for this study was the fact that the literature considers the effects of legislation and specific experiments [63] (in sustainability research. but rather its purpose is to be useful for planning and decision making (operative. with its narrow focus on accounting figures.Sustainability 2013. [9. Consequently. [40] remark. empirical analysis was carried out using the survey method. For this reason.17. reporting and measurement. we end with a series of conclusions.42] has been developed and has spread rapidly in recent years. tactical and strategic decisions) (FASB. it can be concluded that the traditional accounting model.

and the moral responsibility [76] assumed are considered determinant factors in environmental strategy. Winsemius & Guntram [70].80–83].85]. the pressure of legislation [10.65. Based on the literature. respectively. (2). Sadgrove [71] or Vastag et al. occurring at different strategic levels according to this perception [84. The position of the Head of Environmental Management: Authors like Banerjee et al. (3).1. Roome [69]. Strategic Positioning With Regard to Sustainability Development Three groups of variables used in the literature have been taken into account in order to try to establish groups of differentiating environmental behavior [10. we propose encouragement of more advanced environmental positions starting from innovative. its hierarchical position also affects the importance and ambiguity of the environmental information issued [96]. Moroncini [95] also concludes that. with different intermediate tactics [66]. Epstein & Roy [75] identify strategic differentiation and cost strategy as determinants of greater and less proactivity. The corporate strategy applied by the company: The influence of the environment on the company‘s future is clear. [72]. For example. and Sharma & Vredemburg [79].77. unless there is an environmental policy of inaction. Because of this. because it corresponds to management leading this change [86].73–75]. there being a range of behaviors running from a reactive attitude to external pressure to another more proactive one involving willingness to integrate the impacts of the company‘s economic activity on the environment. attitude and commitment affect environmental responsibility and the level of integration in the business philosophy [66. (2). 5 2393 2.64–66]: (1). Given the theoretical proposition of the search for sustainable development as an immediate aim. In the same way. shows how the response of companies to these demands varies significantly from one to another. from a study of 99 Canadian gas and oil companies). three new variables are included which we think identify current environmental behavior: (1).65. in relation with other decisions. introduced coherently so that. The responsibility towards the environment shown by the company: It is not an easy task to define companies‘ environmental behavior or characterize it as environmentally proactive [67]. they shape environmental strategy and commitment [64. . Environmental commitment: Most empirical research considers and concludes that environmental proactivity is greater with increased implementation of an extensive series of environmental practices. Previous Literature 2.87–94]. and the need for its integration in strategic planning has been analyzed in depth [79. the existence of an environment department is necessary and required for proper implementation.77–79]. there are many which conclude that management‘s environmental perception. The work of authors like Hunt & Auster [68]. proactive strategies (this is the conclusion of Aragón-Correa [64] from a sample of 105 large Spanish companies.Sustainability 2013. [81] highlight the naming of an environment manager as the main reflection of greater commitment. Managers’ perception of the impacts the company’s activity has: Although this perception has not been found significant in some studies [10].

use of indicators (Global Reporting Institute TM [122]. to produce international exchanges of information and experience. Brower & Vanek [104]. the environment (natural resources) and future trajectory (long-term decisions). [52]... Pearce & Turner [90]. Jones & Matthews [127]. based on real environmental commitments [99]. Länsiluoto & Järvenpää [117]). the extent to which the company is contributing towards the achievement of SD needs to be determined. Lange [123]. Lamberton [126]. about the different accounting tools involved. research institutes. to achieve a broad consensus. which does not currently exist. Neumayer [107].. This means that examination of sustainable performance from the accounting point of view is not very clear and is sometimes controversial and that research is therefore unstable and shifting over the still embryonic set of practices. Measurement of the Sustainability of Business Activity It could be argued that SD is the unifying element or regulatory ideal used to motivate and integrate social. which means that empirical research is scarce. In addition. SD is so ―politically plastic‖ that it can be interpreted in very different ways and.Sustainability 2013.g. Bebbington et al. Life Cycle Costing (e. . Fowler & Hope [124]. there are very few organizations making decisions and carrying out actions on the common basis of any SD assessment system. Bebbington et al. Griffiths [131].g. However. Full Cost Accounting (e. Almansa & Calatrava [101]. such as more research where companies collaborate closely with academics.. Lind [108]. Howes [51]. both in measurement of the activity‘s sustainability and in the subsequent publication of results (Table 1).g. Boone & Rubinstein [50]. Frame & Cavanagh [62]. Bebbington [129]. Herborn [57]. environmental and ethical concerns in companies‘ social responsibility and social and environmental accounting.. environmental groups or government organizations. Clift & Bourke [113]. 5 2394 (3). Total Quality Management (e. Antheaune [53. Spitzer et al. Vatn & Bromley [109].90]: fairness (intergenerational and intragenerational).112]. Figge & Hahn [55]. Curran [116]. With this approach.98]. which is where the accountant has a crucial role [100]. Länsiluoto & Järvenpää [117]..g. Taplin et al. Sagoff [105]. Jones [128]). Baxter et al. although much has been said about SD performance. [130]. [114]. Bromley [102]. Immediate measures need to be promoted.97. in all fields and all parts of the world. Baumann & Cowell [110]. Goulder & Kennedy [103]. Marrewijk & Were [119]. Xing et al. needing to develop new environmental accounting tools and systems (see Cost-Benefit Analysis (e.2. 2. Hopwood [121]. Sterner [115]. Gauthier [23]. Schaltegger & Wagner [120]. This is why research into the different systems of monetary and non-monetary valuation needs to be encouraged. Matters related with achievement of Sustainable Development: Because of the pressure exerted by interest groups [65. [59].g. Bennett & James [111. [19]. So SD is considered indispensable to achieve sustainable competitive advantages over time [87]. three different dimensions were integrated in the company [13. Balanced Scorecard (e. [61]).54]. Walter & Stützel [125]. Rubenstein [48]. as a result. very different actions established. Navrud [106]. Choi & Gray [118].

5 2395 Table 1. 9. process or activity updated during its lifetime A technique which allows to compare cost assessments that were made in a specific period of time. (3) liability costs. (2) Hidden costs.19.134].137] that FCA could get to achieve if FCA investigate further information. (4) less tangible costs Add information costs LCA Variants Variants See FCA and LCC (1) Initial costs and (2) operational costs Of all of them. More specifically defined by Clift & Bourke (1999) as ―the systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the acquisition and ownership of an asset‖ Life Cycle Costing Life Cycle Costing Full Cost Pricing Whole Life Costing Long term financial analysis comprises the entire range of internal costs and investment savings A term used as a synonym for either of the two definitions given for FCA or as synonymous with TCA Categorí a de Costes Identifies and quantifies (1) direct.16. (2) indirect and (3) intangible costs Variants (1) Internal costs and savings (1) conventional costs. 2002).) Full Cost Accounting Definiciones/Descripciones Identify and quantify the full range of costs throughout the product life cycle. product line. FCA is vaguely seen as a very important management tool [133. .Sustainability 2013. 1993) Term used synonymously with TCA (I) or LCC (Sterner. process. thus making its development widespread for forms to be disclosed to make possible widespread comparison and understanding. service or activity Full Cost Environmental Accounting Total Cost Assessment Total Cost Accounting It embodies the same concept as the FCA but emphasizes environmental elements Life Cycle Accounting The delimitation or specific cost analysis product within a life cycle framework Life Cycle Cost Assessment A systematic process for evaluating life cycle costs of a product or service to identify the environmental consequences and assigning monetary value measures for those consequences. (3) liability costs. which has made it a common subject of discussion in academic and business circles [135. LCCA is a term that highlights the cost aspects of life cycle assessment (LCA) Summary of the total costs of a product. (4) less tangible costs (1) common costs. taking into account all economic factors both in terms of initial costs and future operational costs (ISO 15686) A term used as a synonym for FCA or LCC (Spitzer et al.136]. Diferent environmental management accounting tools. (2) hidden costs.17.. (Fuente: [132]. We summarize its main advantages and drawbacks in Table 2 [9.

the rest of society. In addition. In this context it would be like a kind of Activity Based Management (ABM). We need to promote awareness that the costs generated by the FCA are not ―real‖ in the sense that they need to be defrayed by the owners of the project [62]. where activities which do not add value because their negative impact is greater than their positive impact from an economic. due to fear of the foreseeable non-sustainability result and the negative impact on their reputation and image. monetary terms [9]. though not easy to obtain. DRAWBACKS Determination of the scope of the company‘s operations Get the information necessary for measurement and assessment of impacts The different assessment methods give a wide range of values Lack of company personnel training and knowledge for its introduction Lack of incentives to its adoption Ethical and moral questions It is therefore evident that it has the ability to provide accounting data or indicators to suggest which business activities were unsustainable [19]. social and environmental point of view would be reduced and. their application is difficult. Even so. eliminated. being reflected in the company‘s social benefit. this monetary valuation can provide an important added value in a decision making context. simply the whole process of working with a company to calculate its external benefits and costs can be more valuable than the financial datum obtained. although these SD performance assessments can be carried out transparently and defensibly as can be seen from the literature. by establishing a numerical value for sustainability. which will help decision making and act as an indicator of where to focus attention to work for continuous improvement. is relatively honest It translates sustainability into business language It helps to gain better knowledge of the company‘s operation and to change different ways of doing business which were taken for granted It encourages companies‘ self-regulation and stimulates their proactivity to anticipate more demanding legal standards and regulations It demonstrates corporate commitment to SD and environmental matters It relates all the company‘s actions. FCA‘s main advantages and drawbacks. aware of the value of conservation of the environment. has made companies reluctant to experiment with it and other measurement tools. as Utne [35] points out.) ADVANTAGES It allows comparability between companies It uses some concepts from traditional accounting and information about the current cost which. as Bebbington & Gray [17] suggest. . the sign obtained in this result (net social profit or loss). 5 2396 Table 2. because unilateral assumption of these costs by companies would bring them unsupportable disadvantages. So we should encourage interest and experimentation because. However. so far as possible. so becoming the best way to make decision makers and through them.Sustainability 2013. (Fuente: [10]. this will act like a radar by which the red light for the most polluting activities will be lit. However. making it a very useful tool for correct establishment of prices [19] or transfer rates. by highlighting the economic importance of the situation of the systems. expressing sustainability in business language.

the questionnaire was supplied through a web site created for the purpose or sent by post to the 440 companies. ceramic products and paper and cardboard manufacturing. glass. Study Design To extend evidence of the innovation of these new management accounting systems beyond Britain. In this context. Therefore. followed by auditing of the information obtained. Bogsnes [163]). as Brown [24] indicates. (ii) the introduction of and possibilities of experimentation with measurement of companies‘ sustainability. or the distribution of wealth and power to society (theory of political economics) [154–157]. Results and Discussion 3. and distributed among the managers of the large Spanish companies (which report and integrate the Social Corporate Responsibility model to the greatest extent reported by Bhattacharya [160]. [35]. to improve its reputation [153].152]. the design of the questionnaire is divided into three different blocks.1. belonging to the sectors affected by the regulations of the Kyoto Protocol (Annex I to Directive 2003/87/CE).143–149]. Companies publish this kind of information not only to satisfy the needs of interest groups (stakeholder theory) [140–142]. (iii) the publication of social and environmental information. Most previous studies of the role of the .33–37]. Research into the form of dissemination of social and environmental assessments should be encouraged. after which accounts are rendered and the information reported to the stakeholders [29]. 3. Based on the theoretical model presented. a sequential process needs to be followed consisting of applying a series of accounting techniques to measure the environmental performance. the concept of rendering sustainability accounts and Social Corporate Responsibility transparency has been swiftly developed and spread in recent decades [138]. identified in the National Classification of Economic Activities 2009 (Royal Decree 475/2007) as electrical power. and we will now attempt to consider this matter [22]. oil refining. while becoming more important.150]. but also with the eventual goal of legitimation of their activities (legitimacy theory) [16. in order to identify any environmental problems and improvements. as well as new forms of participation. where the discursive importance of accounting is fundamental.159]. in accordance with the study by Fernández & Larrinaga [10].151. Brundtland [161]. facilitating. Publication of Social and Environmental Information: Rendering of Accounts The degree of importance of information flow to the stakeholders will depend on the company‘s will to provide it. America and Scandinavia [158. as well as information. which had been contacted by telephone to obtain their e-mail address or. as well as the power the stakeholders have to demand it Gray et al. to discharge the company‘s responsibility by presenting this social and environmental information voluntarily (accountability theory) [10. After consultation of the SABI database.3.Sustainability 2013. it is still a relatively unexplored aspect of this [139]. decision making by the groups affected by the company‘s activity [26. The purpose of this study being to test the theoretical model in order to find out about (i) strategic positioning with regard to SD. and. a survey has been used. cement. postal address. because of institutional pressure (institutional sociology) [27. metallurgy. failing this. 5 2397 2. there is a general recognition of the need for ―new forms of rendering of accounts‖. coke plants. Horváth & Partners [162]. though revelation of sustainability.

963. but different from each other [10.32%. we found that not all the respondents were the executive managers to whom the survey had been directed. 3.64–66]. In addition. the data series obtained was subjected to Harman‘s one-factor test to discount the existence of a single pattern on the variation caused by the existence of a single data source [10. which.169–173]. It was subjected to a measurement scale reliability analysis. followed by analysis of the F statistic to check whether the differences between groups of the variables chosen for the classification were significant and so identify whether they are really effective in characterization of the clusters.2. 5 2398 Environmental Management Accounting have mainly been carried out by mail questionnaires and focusing especially on companies in sectors with an important effect on the environment (such as chemicals. being above 0.9 indicates excellent overall reliability of the measurement scale.174].Sustainability 2013. ANOVA or analysis of variance analysis was then carried out on each of the clusters obtained. which returned a Cronbach‘s alpha of 0. which can be considered a fairly acceptable proportion. making a response rate of 44.1.) [164–168] and case studies [18. we proposed a series of hypothesis tests to verify them. looking at the people who replied to the questionnaire. Considering the results obtained with these techniques and in the previous literature. most using Likert scales from 1 (totally disagree) to 7 (totally agree) or dichotomic (YES/NO) questions (the values of which were changed into a 0–1 scale). Also to check whether the variables used in the study to define the different clusters explain the probability of a company belonging to one group or another. the dispersion among the individuals in the same group is as low as possible while the difference between groups is maximum [174]. so obtaining a host of correlations (positive and negative) which show a high degree of internal coherence of the replies obtained and the hypotheses posed. 195 correct replies were received. Univariate analysis was carried out on the frequency of the variables. more important than this high response rate is the fact that a representative sample of the population was . by an iterative process. Furthermore. In addition. various LOGIT analyses or logistic regressions were carried out. just as happened to Fernández & Larrinaga [10]. It is also made up of a total of 15 questions. in the final solution. Non-hierarchical procedures were preferred for this purpose because they have two main advantages over hierarchical ones [10]: results are less susceptible to outliers and.2. etc. Response Rate From the 440 companies comprising the population. Cluster analysis was carried out to determine groups of companies which are internally homogeneous with regard to strategic positioning in terms of the environment. but had a wide range of positions (we suppose this is because of time restraints). Results 3. and bivariate analysis was carried out using Pearson‘s r correlation coefficient to try to find out the relationships between the values of the variables in two‘s. the confidence intervals were calculated from the results in order to obtain the limits for each category or group identified within which the quantitative values of the variables fell. electricity. cases are progressively assigned to each group so that. With regard to the methods used.

to establish the relationships between different variables and environmental behavior. the first step was to apply non-hierarchical K-mean cluster analysis (Quick Cluster) to these variables: (1) hierarchical position of the Environment Manager (PRM). which contains 48. Paper and Cardboard” and “Chemicals”) 9. (Source: Authors.3% of the final configuration of replies obtained. and oil refining represents 2. (4) perception of the managers (PS). (2) business strategy (PE). the survey respondents belonged to management.96% of the companies comprising the study (Table 3). the sector with the greatest specific weight. 5 2399 obtained [10]. These results indicate that all the statistical variables used were significant to a confidence level of 95%.2. Nevertheless. Cluster Quick results on environmental strategic positioning. and 47. Result of the Cluster Analysis With the aim of establishing groups with differentiating environmental behavior.2% of the survey respondents was Accounting and/or Administration Manager.2%. Identification of Business Groups by Sustainable Environmental Behavior Adopted. capital and number of employees in each sector. 3. The position of 8. also being representative of the companies with most strategic capacity in each of the sectors analyzed. the largest concentration of the 192 cases which were valid being in Cluster 3. “Energy Activities”. Table 3. the replies obtained are related to the proportion of companies comprising the initial population of 440 companies. with the companies which control the market or occupy the top places in terms of sales. although only 10.2. The sectors which have less specific weight are: “Industrial Minerals” 18%.2% of them occupied the top position.2.2% were Environment Managers (compared with 22% for the previous authors). “Metallurgy” 16. and.Sustainability 2013. 3. In this regard.3. (6) aspects related to the achievement of SD (PDS).9% and “Other Activities” (“Paper Pulp. Four differentiated conglomerates were obtained as a result of the cluster analysis. the ANOVA results were examined. (3) environmental commitment (PAS). market share. Representation of the Sectors of Activity By sector of activity. (5) legal and moral responsibility (PN). .) Number of cases per cluster CLUSTER Number of cases 1 34 2 23 3 94 4 41 Valid 192 Lost 3 Next. except PN_3 (environmental regulations must be complied with). PDS_3 (SD is mainly the responsibility of public administrations) and PDS_7 (SD is achieved in my company) (Table 4).6%. represent 53. Number of cases per cluster. in which are the various forms of electrical power activities.

694 11.066 29.000 0.039 10.321 17.115 2.579 13.220 0.174 45.001 0.052 24.933 14.069 2.199 25.061 0.272 79.756 1.886 1.000 0.000 REC_PAS_2 REC_PAS_3 REC_PAS_4 REC_PAS_5 REC_PAS_6 REC_PAS_7 REC_PAS_8 REC_PAS_9 REC_PAS_10 REC_PAS_11 REC_PAS_12 PS_1 PS_2 PN_1 PN_2 PN_3 PN_4 PN_5 PDS_1 PDS_2 PDS_3 PDS_4 PDS_5 PDS_6 PDS_7 PDS_8 PDS_9 PDS_10 PDS_11 PDS_12 PDS_13 PDS_14 PDS_15 0.000 0.091 19.377 22. which also means better determination of environmental positioning than in previous literature.204 1.000 0.149 0.779 4.334 10.442 0.924 0.000 217.280 29.736 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 188 5.827 24.708 16.402 58.007 0.520 3 0.000 0.) VARIABLES REC_PRM REC_PE Resultados del Quick Clúster: ANOVA Conglomerado Error F Sig.000 0.885 8.274 26.345 11.000 0.988 16.062 1.000 0.953 10.000 0.995 4.211 6.809 6.309 0.000 0.775 1.205 35.640 1.066 11.452 46.000 0.000 0. This was significant even with . Media cuadrática gl Media cuadrática gl 35.Sustainability 2013.049 3 3.000 0.231 1.000 0.000 0.979 75.429 0.000 0.000 0.008 2.111 0.748 14.105 0.000 REC_PAS_1 2.292 0.507 0.000 0.190 0.281 81.406 20.586 0. (Source: Authors.239 0.375 15.034 0.194 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 0.485 0.031 33.330 3 2.878 2.932 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.910 30.637 0.000 0.830 188 12.119 188 21.785 51.916 188 55.598 22.169 2.623 11.832 1.014 0.581 1.118 1. Cluster Quick results on environmental strategic positioning: ANOVA.706 1.976 1.969 18.000 0.120 0.143 0.799 2.964 1.102 1.067 1.676 2.000 0.670 19.192 42.000 0.000 This significance shows that all these variables contribute to the same extent towards the formation of the four strategic environmental positioning groups we have identified.531 2.147 19.961 3.110 0.000 0.139 1.164 1.072 8.000 0.598 1.192 8.129 0.185 19. 5 2400 Table 4.429 0.753 12.092 0.657 44.374 3.469 12.324 1.

33 SUSTAINABLE Responsability 5.20 2.93 3.53 ACHIEVING Imagen 6.50 3.97 5.29 4.63 6.40 DEVELOPMENT Changes Structure 6.67 5.70 5.40 5. the general strategy followed by the company and aspects related with achieving SD.28 0.40 3.21 6.76 3.22 5.69 5.67 5.67 5..53 MEANS USED (DME) Conventional Focus on the environment ..50 4 RESPONSABILITY Legal 7 4.50 3 DISCLOSURE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REASONS (DMO) 5.36 Organizational 6.78 0.20 4.) ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY PROACTIVE DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP LEGALISTIC FACTORS STRATEGIC POSITIONING WITH REGARD TO SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT Predisposition of Management (PS) 7 3 4.51 STAKEHOLDERS Regulators 6.78 Certification 0. Comparing the results of the two analyses.10 3.81 0.58 4.82 INITIATIVES (PAS) Analysis-Diagnostic 0.17 5.06 6.99 5.18 Homogeneity 5.88 DISCLOSED Disclosed (DQI) 0.58 3.88 POSSITIVE Corporate Image 6. 5 2401 regard to the perception of managers of the environmental problem (PS) which was not significant in Fernández & Larrinaga [10]. they have different behavior from one another. Summary of the mean values for the significant variables for each of the different groups identified in the cluster analysis. in general.92 0.50 5 6. So we can conclude that the four groups obtained quantitatively were well discriminated.38 3.70 6 6 (PN) Moral 6.38 5.36 Alternatives 6 2.e. Table 5. there is.52 5.32 0.90 5. and the position of the environment manager.57 5.69 0.56 5.54 0.99 0.97 0. To corroborate this statement still further. we applied different ANOVA (Tables 5 and 6) and LOGIT (Table 6) analyses to all the variables analyzed in all the groups.48 0.09 6.79 0.52 4.50 SPECIFIC Administrative 0.10 6. ( Source: Authors. i.96 ISSUES Known (DQC) 0.34 (DGI) Lobbies 6.33 5.75 0.50 3.21 5.19 5. variables added to previous studies.81 3. both qualitative (data series obtained from the survey) and quantitative (data obtained from the SABI).81 2.24 5.50 5 7 5.90 0.58 0.50 6 (PDS) Internal processes 5 4 6 5 Adverse attitude 2.52 Financial 6. a great coincidence in the results obtained.60 3.46 NEGATIVE EFFECTS (DPO) 2.86 4.76 5.02 EFFECTS (DPO) Accountability 6.43 4.98 4.Sustainability 2013.36 3.81 0.

36 4.35%) .Sustainability 2013. (73.60% 12.70 51.4%) Excellence Product Competitive Product production Leadership advantage Leadership process (30.5 1. (41. (72.88 (MIES) Assessment 6. Ltd. €) 2.8%). Inc.92 3.55 3.2%) process (20.3% 6.9%). (58.42 4.3%).76 6.43 4.90 3.6 Revenue (mill. Director (46.65 4.18 Interest 0.21 DIFFICULTIES Assessment/Imputation 3.58 5 4.53 Acceptance 2.56 5.4%). (17.7%) (11.49 3. (43. €) 1074 71 1304 320 Number of employees 614 153 423 441 Liquidity 99 122 1456 165 Financial Strength 1.4% 4. Cont.55 5.85 3.23 5.47 0.92 IMPACTS (MIMA) Assessment 5.3%). Cost (57.50 3.6%).8%) y High- (47.67 SOCIAL IMPACTS Signification 6.06 3.60 Possibility 3.66 5. (73.05 Availavility 5.38 0.99% Type of corporation Inc.4%) Ltd.35 3. Assistant (38.2%) COMPANY CHARACTERISTICS Environment Manager (PRM) TOTAL : 192 Mid-level Assistant Dirección Department Management Manager (47. (27.96%) (21.94 3.8%).21% 19.4%) (24.36 4.53 0. ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY PROACTIVE DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP LEGALISTIC FACTORS MEASUREMENT OF COMPANY SUSTAINABILITY FCA (MI) Implementation 0.63 3.42 ENVIRONMENTAL Signification 5.65 3. Ltd.2%).98%) (48. €) 117.9%).47 Inadecuacy 3.33 0.88 5.06 0 0.06 0. Department Mid-Level level Department High-level Management Management Director Management (14.4%).9% 4.2%) Ltd.62 99 1440 325 EBIT (mill.71 Assets (mill.53 4. Financial aspects primacy COMPANY CHARACTERISTICS Corporate Strategy (PE) (58.64 BENEFITS (MSPO) Utility 5.9%).60 4.34 1.98 11. 5 2402 Table 5.7%) Manager(14.2%) (21.71 4.07 Debt Ratio 63 59 46 37 Incorporation Date 1997 1991 1988 1979 Stock Market Trading 2.7%) (28.70 (MSPO) Formation 4. Inc.8%) Customer focus (26.6%) 34 23 94 41 (17.16 5.48 5.44 4.13 4.24% 1.72 4.97 3.16 3. Leadership Excellence focus (26.47 2.22 0.83 4. Customer (55.46 3.8%).9% Return On Investment 74.1%) production (38. Inc.

MIMA_V5 IMPACTS (MIMA_V) MIMA_V4. REC_DQI_10. REC_DQC_7. REC_DQC_14 REC_DQC_13 All significant REC_DQI_1. MI_2. MIMA_V5. REC_DQC_10. sustainability measurement and quantitative characteristics or variables of each firms cluster. MIMA_S3. (Source: Authors. IMPACTS (MIMA_S) MIMA_S5 IMA_S11 MIMA_S7. MI_3 MI_1. DGI_11 DGI_5. DGI_11 MEASUREMENT OF COMPANY SUSTAINABILITY SIGNIFICANCE OF All significant except All significant except All significant except All significant except ENVIRONMENTAL MIMA_S2. MIMA_S1. REC_DQC_5. MIMA_V4. REC_DQI_13 REC_DQI_13. DGI_7. MIMA_V3. KNOWLEDGE REC_DQC_9. DME_6. DME_11 POSSITIVE AND All significant except All significant except DPO_2. DGI_1. DGI_6. MIMA_V7. REC_DQC_9. DGI_9. REC_DQI_3. MIMA_S4. REC_DQI_11. INFORMATION ON All significant except All significant except SOCIAL AND REC_DQI_1. DGI_10. DMO_5 DMO_5 All significant except All significant except DME_7 DME_4. NEGATIVE EFFECTS DPO_3 DPO_2. MIMA_V9 SIGNIFICANCE OF All significant except All significant except All significant except ECONOMIC AND MIES_S3 MIES_S2 MIES_S2 QUANTIFICATION OF All significant except All significant except All significant except ECONOMIC AND MIES_V3 MIES_V2 MIES_V1. DME_5 DPO_4. REC_DQC_13. MIMA_S1. ENVIRONMENTAL REC_DQC_13 (DPO) REC_DQC_1. DPO_4. MIMA_V5 MIMA_V10 MIMA_V8. MI_2 . REC_DQI_14 STAKEHOLDERS All significant All significant (DGI) DGI_1. MIMA_S5. REC_DQC_1. DGI_5.Sustainability 2013. MIMA_S8 MIMA_S5 QUANTIFICATION OF All significant except All significant except All significant except All significant except ENVIRONMENTAL MIMA_V2. MIES_V2. REC_DQC_11. REC_DQC_5.) VARIABLES CONGLOMERADO 1 CONGLOMERADO 2 CONGLOMERADO 3 CONGLOMERADO 4 DMO_2. (REC_DQC) REC_DQC_10 REC_DQC_11. REC_DQI_14 ENVIRONMENTAL REC_DQI_2. MI_2 MI_1. DPO_4 DPO_10 SOCIAL AND REC_DQC_11 y All significant except REC_DQC_1. 5 2403 Table 6. DPO_10 DISCLOSURE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REASONS (DMO) MEANS USED (DME) All significant except All significant except DMO_1 DMO_1 All significant except All significant DME_1. ASPECTS (REC_DQI) REC_DQI_3. All significant SOCIAL IMPACTS (MIES_S) SOCIAL IMPACTS All significant MIES_V6 (MIES_V) IMPLEMENTATION AND INTEREST OF FCA (MI) MI_1 MI_1. Results of ANOVA analysis of the variables that were significant with a confidence level of 95% with respect to disclosure. REC_DQI_2. REC_DQI_11. MIMA_S5. MIMA_V5. DGI_3. MIMA_S3. DGI_2. REC_DQC_9. REC_DQC_12.

AMORTIZATION. Summary of the proposed logit model.) VARIABLES CONGLOMERADO 1 CONGLOMERADO 2 CONGLOMERADO 3 CONGLOMERADO 4 C_3 = β1 (DMO_3) + β2 C_4 = β1 (DMO_2) DISCLOSURE SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION REASONS (DMO) C_1 = β0 + β1 (DMO_2) + C_2 = β1 (DMO_5) β2 (DMO_5) MEANS USED (DME) (DMO_5) C_1 = β1 (DME_1) + β2 C_2 = β0 + β1 C_3 = β0 + β1 (DME_1) + C_4 = β1 (DME_3) + β2 (DME_11) (DME_10) β2 (DME_4) + β3 (DME_7) (DME_4) + β3 + β4 (DME_10) + β5 (DME_11) (DME_11) POSSITIVE AND C_1 = β0 + β1 (DPO_2) + C_2 = β1 (DPO_1) + β2 C_3 = β1 (DPO_1) + β2 C_4 = β1 (DPO_3) + β2 NEGATIVE EFFECTS (DPO) β2 (DPO_3) + β3 (DPO_4) (DPO_2) + β3 (DPO_3) (DPO_2) + (DPO_4) + β4 (DPO_9) β3 (DPO_3) + β4 (DPO_4) + β5 (DPO_5) + β6 (DPO_6) + β7 (DPO_7) + β9 (DPO_9) SOCIAL AND - - C_3 = β1 (DQC_10) + β2 ENVIRONMENTAL (DQC_11) + KNOWLEDGE (REC_DQC) β3 (DQI_2) + β4 (DQI_5) + AND INFORMATION ON β5 (DQI_6) + β6 (DQI_7) SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS (REC_DQI) - . PERFORMANCE. WORKING CAPITAL. MSPO_14. MSDI_7 FCA (MSDI) MSDI_10 y MSDI_14 COMPANY CHARACTERISTICS Company Characteristics LEGAL FORM. VARIABLES CONGLOMERADO 1 CONGLOMERADO 2 CONGLOMERADO 3 CONGLOMERADO 4 MEASUREMENT OF COMPANY SUSTAINABILITY POSSITIVE ASPECTS MSPO_2.Sustainability 2013. MSPO_6. the results are as shown in Tables 6 and 7. All significant except All significant except All significant except OF FCA (MSPO) MSPO_4. WORKING CAPITAL. 5 2404 Table 6. DATE OPERATING OF INCORPORATION INCOME When the significant variables for the formation of the groups had been established from the results obtained in the analyses above. EMPLOYEES LIQUIDITY. SECTOR. LIQUIDITY. If we group the values of these variables into factors. we determined the mean descriptive statistic for each. and enlarge the study to the sustainability measurement and dissemination part. MSDI_6. MSDI_8. MSPO_3 MSPO_6 MSDI_1. DATE OF STRENGTH. MSPO_2. MSPO_5. MSDI_4 MSDI_3. ACTIVE NUMBER OF STRENGTH. MSPO_3. FINANCIAL INCORPORATION. (Source: Authors. showing the different environmental strategic positioning followed by the companies being studied. IMPLEMENTING THE MSDI_1. MSDI_7 MSPO_6 y MSPO_13 MSPO_15 DIFFICULTIES IN All significant except MSDI_1. Table 7. AMORTIZATION. after which we will examine their features. Cont.

STAKEHOLDERS (DGI) C_1 = β0 + β1 (DGI_2) + C_2 = β1 (DGI_1) + β2 C_3 = β1 (DGI_4) + β2 C_4 = β1 (DGI_2) + β2 β2 (DGI_9) + β3 (DGI_10) (DGI_2) + β3 (DGI_3) (DGI_5) + β3 (DGI_9) (DGI_5) + β3 (DGI_7) + + β4 (DGI_4) + β5 β4 (DGI_9) (DGI_5) + β6 (DGI_6) + β7 (DGI_8) + β8 (DGI_9) + β9 (DGI_11) MEASUREMENT OF COMPANY SUSTAINABILITY IMPLEMENTATION AND C_1 = β0 + β1 (MI_1) + β2 INTEREST OF FCA (MI) (MI_4) SIGNIFICANCE OF - C_2 = β1 (MI_3) C_1 = β1 (MI_2) + β2 - (MI_3) + β3 (MI_4) C_2 = β0 + β1 C_3 = β0 + β1 (MIMA_S2) C_4 = β1 (MIMA_S3) + ENVIRONMENTAL (MIMA_S6) + β2 + β2 (MIMA_S8) + β3 β2 (MIMA_S6) + β3 IMPACTS (MIMA_S) AND (MIMA_S10) + β3 (MIMA_S9) + β4 (MIMA_S11) + β4 QUANTIFICATION OF (MIMA_S11) + β4 (MIMA_S10) + β5 (MIMA_V6) + β5 ENVIRONMENTAL (MIMA_V4) + β5 (MIMA_V8) + β6 (MIMA_V10) IMPACTS (MIMA_V) (MIMA_V11) (MIMA_V9) + β7 (MIMA_V9) SIGNIFICANCE OF - C_2 = β0 C_3 = β0 + β1 (MIES_S1) + ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL β2 (MIMA_S3) + β3 IMPACTS (MIES_S) AND (MIMA_V3) C_4 = β0 QUANTIFICATION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL IMPACTS (MIES_V) POSSITIVE ASPECTS OF - FCA (MSPO) C_2 = β0 + β1 C_3 = β0 + β1 (MSPO_1) + C_4 = β1 (MSPO_1) + β2 (MSPO_4) + β2 β2 (MSPO_3) + β3 (MSPO_2) + β3 (MSPO_9) + β3 (MSPO_4) + β4 (MSPO_6) (MSPO_5) + β4 (MSPO_13) + β4 + β5 (MSPO_8) + β6 (MSPO_7) + β5 (MSPO_14) (MSPO_14) + β7 (MSPO_8) + β6 MSPO_19) (MSPO_10) + β7 MSPO_14) + β8 (MSPO_15) + β9 (MSPO_19) DIFFICULTIES IN - C_2 = β0 + β1 C_3 = β1 (MSDI_2) + β2 C_4 = β1 (MSDI_1) + β2 IMPLEMENTING THE FCA (MSDI_6) + β2 (MSDI_4) + β3 (MSDI_5) + (MSDI_3) + β3 (MSDI_5) (MSDI) (MSDI_7) + β3 β4 (MSDI_7) + β5 (MSDI_8) + β4 (MSDI_6) (MSDI_8) + β6 (MSDI_9) + β7 (MSDI_11) + β8 (MSDI_13) COMPANY CHARACTERISTICS Company REC C_1 = β0 + β1 Characteristics (Recoded) (REC_LegalForm) + β2 - - - C_2 = β0 + β1 (Z_Debt) (REC_ActivitySector) Z C_1 = β0 + β1 C_3 = β1 C_4 = β1 (Discretized) (Z_FinancialPerformance) (Z_WorkingCapital) + β2 (Z_WorkingCapital) + β2 + β2 (Z_NumbEmployees) (Z_FinancialStrenght) + β3 (Z_Deadlock) + β3 (Z_NumbEmployees) +β4 (Z_EBIT) + β4 (Z_Active) (Z_ConstitutionDate) + β5 (Z_OperatingIncome) +β6 (Z_Active) . Cont.Sustainability 2013. 5 2405 Table 7.

moral responsibility minimum. 5 2406 Therefore. to have experience of FCA. talks and presentations). indicating the increase in price of products and lack of personnel training as the main impediments to its implementation. although they consider internal changes indispensable (structure and management). Its positive aspect is that it attributes the highest value to worker training. and 94. publication of information. especially on the fact that. (ii) use of different media (traditional. also in the benefits brought by achievement of SD. each cluster is defined by the following characteristics: (1) Conglomerate 1: ―Proactive Image‖     Positioning with regard to SD: Innovative/active strategies. web sites. organizational and strategic capacity: the lower proportion which is traded on the stock market consists of the most recently established ones. the highest in the disadvantages. Publication of social and environmental information: By way of confirmation. Measurement of company sustainability: In spite of the proactivity shown by this group of companies in some of the variables used to determine environmental sustainability. Publication of social and environmental information: Less involvement in publication. this predisposition does not materialize as environmental actions to the necessary degree and with the necessary coherency of action (mainly: environmental policy. environmental protection manual or process and product life cycle analysis). This is why we have called this group ―Proactive Image‖. and the acceptance of legal responsibility neutral. Company characteristics: Most are constituted as limited companies.1% belong to the electricity sector. For these reasons. after Conglomerate 2 (the least proactive). environment manager is a high position. (iv) the significance of and information about impacts caused. this is the second least likely. this group has the highest results for all stakeholders as recipients of this information (especially locals. generating good future expectations.Sustainability 2013. The environment manager has a management position in 97% of cases (average level 58. However. application for investment grants or the achievement of certification (none of these companies has EMAS certification and the average with ISO certificates is 57%)). They have the highest values in financial. In addition this group has the lowest values with regard to social and environmental initiatives undertaken i. because they seek SD in order to achieve good corporate image (reputation) and social approval (legitimacy). customers and ecologists) and with regard to the different means of publication (mainly sustainability and environmental reports. however. shown in the lower values found when the following are considered: (i) the satisfaction of interest groups as a reason for publication (especially. . environmental or other alternatives). regulators and financiers).8%). we call this strategy ―Defensive‖. essentially. with management commitment and the full assumption of legal and moral responsibilities. (2) Conglomerate 2: Defensive   Positioning with regard to SD: Defensive/non-innovative strategies. instead of proactive. in spite of knowing all the social and environmental impacts of their activities. (iii) the benefits arising from rendering of accounts. Even so. this does not translate into subsequent rendering of accounts. where the predisposition of management towards SD is negative.e.

in contrast to Conglomerate 1. (iii) Leaders: there is more homogeneous distribution over the sectors comprising this group of companies. like Conglomerate 1. internal changes (structure. In 47. studies and certification). it consists of the leading companies in each sector of activity. they render accounts about most of the economic. this group of companies has the highest values with regard to the drawbacks of publishing this kind of information. perhaps. in which they see few benefits and a lot of impediments to their introduction. the company knows all the impacts it causes. although they consider it to have disadvantages. This shows that they really seek transparency of information and the discharge of accountability. the lack of suitability of the assessment methods and the lack of personnel training as the main impediments to this. innovative business strategies. It has the lowest values for financial. (ii) Proactive and anticipatory: Predisposition to comply with legislation (although to a lesser extent than Conglomerate 1. . using all available media for this purpose (mainly web site. because of the generalized belief in this group that they do not have as much impact as other sectors). i.9% of cases the head of environmental management has a management position (much less than Conglomerate 1). and even to anticipate and adopt greater commitment than legally required. In addition. organizational and strategic capability. Measurement of company sustainability: They consider the significance and valuation of all impacts to be very important. with the highest values for the introduction of social and environmental initiatives (administrative. though the fact that the values are less high than in Conglomerate 1 may be due to the fact that. Company characteristics: It comprises companies in all the sectors. It consists of companies in most of the sectors analyzed. For this reason we have called it ―Leadership‖. types of and interest in future experimentation with FCA.e. it has the highest values for financial. where the head of environmental management does not have a management position. (3) Conglomerate 3: Leadership (Innovation or Anticipatory)     Positioning with regard to SD: These companies are: (i) Innovative: active. They innovate in: full cost accounting (FCA). attitudes and values). so have the highest proportion of implementation. they give the lowest values with regard to the significance and assessment of the three kinds of impact. Publication of social and environmental information: Main motivation for publication: to satisfy all stakeholders (mainly. clean technology (importance attached to the need for investment aid or aid for technology to achieve SD). It has the largest proportion of stock-market traded companies. with the difference that in this conglomerate accounts are also rendered to a high degree. organizational and strategic capacity. 5   2407 Measurement of company sustainability: Strategic passiveness is seen in the lack of experimentation with the use of means of sustainability assessment. talks and presentations). indicating its excessive complexity. social and environmental impacts caused by their activities. especially environmental impact.. Company characteristics: Strategies based on cost and product.Sustainability 2013. In addition. They consider the effects of this rendering of accounts to be very positive. customers and shareholders). Together with Conglomerate 1.

lack of suitability of the assessment tools and lack of personnel training. etc. insurance companies and.2. investment funds). soundness or debt ratio). to a lesser extent. the oldest. However. Company characteristics: With highly diverse activities. nevertheless. 3. organizational. awareness is lower than that of Conglomerates 1 and 3 but.‖ Both these matters reflect companies‘ reluctance to motu proprio commitment and suggest the need to propose a minimum level of compulsion to achieve global sustainability. it has the highest values for implementation of and interest in FCA. and to the fact that it includes a broad umbrella of options allowing its interpretation in very different ways as the possible result of very different actions. Publication of social and environmental information: With regard to social and environmental aspects. this conglomerate has the lowest figures after Conglomerate 2 for some indicators reflecting the availability of resources (financial.4. whereas in Conglomerate 1 there was complete predisposition. Measurement of company sustainability: After Conglomerate 3. 5 2408 (4) Conglomerate 4: Legalistic     Positioning with regard to SD: Like Conglomerate 1. generating good expectations of future experimentation with sustainability measuring tools. as a result of their declared neutrality.Sustainability 2013. which reinforces nominations imposed. So in matters related to certification. So all stakeholders are targets for this information (mainly town and city councils. we carried out different hypothesis tests to try to determine the discriminating elements for the strategic positioning adopted by companies in relation to SD. the least significant and least value being the ―social impact of products. on average. the perceived legal responsibility is high. in this case the lack of incentives and management support being the least impediment. Table 8 shows the elements which were shown to be significant and directly determinant for that positioning. Conclusions SD has become the most pragmatic. . (2) They attribute greater significance and possible valuation to social and economic impacts. The main difficulties found here are also excessive complexity. This is why it has been called ―Legalistic‖. popular way to seek global sustainability mainly because more extreme positions are not socially. 4. There are two aspects common to all the conglomerates with regard to measurement of sustainability: (1) The possibility of comparing the sustainability of companies or sectors is considered its least important benefit. which are. Results of the Hypothesis Testing Based on the results of the empirical analysis and on the literature analyzed. it carries out numerous social and environmental initiatives (especially administrative and diagnostic). and the greater the moral responsibility the higher it is. management here maintains a neutral position. economically or politically acceptable. compared with environmental ones. rendering of accounts with regard to them is almost the same as Conglomerate 1 (theoretically more proactive and predisposed).) of these companies (this is not the case for financial profitability (ROI).

Cormier & Gordon [185]. represented by: Assets and number of employees (results similar to Aragón-Correa [64].77–79]. and the . Russo & Fouts [189]. Cochran & Wood [192]). represented by: Return on Investment. Shrivastava [89]. Liquidity. Aragón-Correa. predominance of financial criteria and lack of approval and adaptation). Murillo et al. Youndt. Epstein & Roy [175]). Roome [69]. Effects of publication.  Significance and possibilities of assessment of impacts caused. in which the behavior is of leadership and anticipation and where transparency together with discharge of accountability become really effective. traditional and alternative means. Schaefer & Harvey [179]. the actions carried out are especially intended to promote the company‘s image and reputation. Menon & Menon [83]. both positive (image.) Publication of social and environmental information    Effective striving to improve reputation. In this context. Guimarães & Liska [90]. Iyer & Kashyap [81]. Porter & van der Linde [93].  High hierarchical position of the head of environmental management. Yip [74]. Delaney & Huselid [186]. 5 2409 Table 8. Dean & Lepak [191]). Judge & Douglas [92]. availability and possibility) and negative (individual asse ssment and attribution. Operating Revenue or Debt Ratio (results similar to Klassen & Mclaughlin [78]. Banerjee [84]. Fraj & Mature [180]. Garcí a & Hurtado [77]. and (d) leadership strategies.  Environmental commitment (measured through the introduction of coherent initiatives at all strategic levels) (Results similar to: [64. Vastag. Walley & Whitehead [94]. Schendel & Hofer [85]). Financial Strength. Woodman & Cameron [175].  Effective striving towards Sustainability Development. STRATEGIC POSITIONING WITH REGARD TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Aspects related with the strategy adopted with regard to SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT  Proactivity and strategic innovation (results similar to Aragón-Correa [64]. Gladwin [73]. Roberts [141]. legitimacy and stakeholder satisfaction. [82]. considered as above the moral responsibility of the company. (c) proactive image strategies. Sadgrove [71]. Jaffe & Stavins [182]). Shrivastava [88]. Company characteristics  Type of Corporation. Klassen & Mclaughlin [78]. simply involving scrupulous compliance with legislation. Judge & Douglas [92]. to (b) legalistic strategies.  Pressure from interest groups related with the business activity. Use of specific.Sustainability 2013. where introduction of social and environmental measures is low key because of a negative predisposition towards environmental protection. Working Capital.  Financial capabilities of the company.  Predisposition of management (results similar to Estes [46]. Epstein & Roy [75]. Hart & Ahuja [188]. Sharma & Henriques [193]). Likerman [76]. Aragón-Correa [64]. Measurement of business sustainability  Introduction of and interest in experimentation with business sustainability measurement tools. Porter & van der Linde [93]. represented by: Amortization and Incorporation Date (results similar to Ullmann [140]. Banerjee. Bravo. Murillo. Whittington [177]. Sharma & Vredenburg [79]. Pettigrew. Roberts [141]. Bansal & Roth [80]. Guerra [187].  Size. highly differentiated strategies with regard to SD. Pettigrew & Thomas [178]. Kerekes & Rondinelli [72].  Age of the company. Hackston & Milne [181]. Aza [184].  Effects of measurement of sustainability.  Knowledge and the need to render accounts. although there is a high perception of and commitment to SD. discharge of accountability) and negative (misinterpretation or the source of claims.  Stock Market Trading (results similar to Feldman. Ullmann [140].  Sector of Activity (results similar to Banerjee. Iyer & Kashyap [81]. Garcés & Rivera [82]. Whittington. EBIT. costs or contingencies). Bhargava & Welford [87]. both positive (utility. Hunt & Auster [68]. Determinants of strategic positioning with regard to Sustainability Development. Soyka & Ameer [183]). Sharma & Vredenburg [79]. Russo & Fouts [189]. Bansal & Roth [80]. which run from (a) defensive or reactive strategies.  Responsibility (legal y moral) to the environment shown by the company (results similar to Fernández & Larrinaga [10]. in which. Volberda & Elfring [176]. Hart [91]. Snell. Margolis & James [190]. analysis of 192 large Spanish companies belonging to sectors constrained by the Kyoto Protocol returned us four.

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