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Reflective Journal: Sustainable Business

Reflective Journal: Sustainable Business

In the modern society, various companies are actively integrating sustainability principles and components into their business transactions and policies. According to Stubbs & Cocklin (2008), the approach enables such organisations to pursue goals beyond the traditional aspect of reputation management. For instance, sustainability enables the organisations to save substantive energy, develop green products, retain, and motivate workers, thus, the platform for the acquisition of value through adequate growth and return on capital. The purpose of this reflective journal is to explore Dunphy et al.’s Six Phase of Business approaches to Sustainability.

According to Dunphy (2003), there are six phases or stages in pursuit of business sustainability by diverse organisations. These phases tend to include rejection, non-responsive, compliance, efficiency, strategic sustainability, and sustaining corporation.

Dunphy et al.’s Six Phase of Business approaches to Sustainability

Phase 1: Rejection

According to Dunphy (2003), rejection tends to display the strong perception that the business entity or company exists to maximise profit as its single objective, thus, the illegitimate and dismissive aspect of the community. Additionally, the organisation perceives employees, as well as subcontractors as resources to undergo exploitation. Alternatively, the phase perceives the environment as a ‘free good,’ which should experience exploitation in the good of the company. In such instances, the owners and managers of the company prove to be hostile to the relevant environmental activists (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2010).

Phase 2: Non-responsiveness

According to Dunphy (2003), the second phase of this sustainability model associates with ignorance. The phase tends to incorporate financial and technological factors with primacy. The practitioners of this phase prove to be more ignorant in comparison to their counterparts in the initial phase of the model. The phase perceives the environment as a ‘free good’ in the course of illustrating the organisation as value limiter in pursuit of sustainability in the contemporary context (Benn, Dunphy, & Griffiths, 2006). From this illustration, non-responsiveness tends to emanate from substantive lack of awareness or ignorance rather than the aspects of the active opposition to the corporate ethic boundary against the financial gain.

Phase 3: Compliance

According to Dunphy (2003), compliance phase aims at reducing the risk of sanctions for the failure to achieve or address the minimum standards in the industry as employers or producers. In this phase, the organisations still focus on the exploitation of the financial and technological factors in the development and execution of the business strategies. Similarly, the firms engage in the institutionalisation of the HR functions such as training, development, and quality management. Evidently, the organisations tend to buy the employee loyalty by adopting and implementing benevolent paternalism. The companies have the tendency of addressing communal concerns in the midst of risk of prosecution, as well as negative implications of publicity on the financial bottom line (Ganescu, 2012).

Phase 4: Efficiency

According to Dunphy (2003), the efficiency phase is a reflection of the increased awareness regarding the real advantages or benefits of institutionalisation of the proactive sustainable practices. Evidently, the organisation begins to make or integrate systematic HR functions into the technological systems towards the reduction of costs, as well as improvement of efficiency. Similarly, the organisation perceives people as a valuable source of expenditure, thus, the tendency to utilise HR in a more productive perspective. The phase associates with the creation of value, thus, the opportunity by the organisation to view environmental management as a tool towards avoidance of costs in pursuit of competitive advantage.

Phase 5: Strategic Sustainability

According to Dunphy (2003), strategic sustainability provides the platform for the organisation to move across the sustainability scale by making the concept a valuable component of the business strategy. In this context, the organisation tends to perceive skills mix and diversity of the employees as integral and crucial in the utilisation or maximisation of the outputs of the business and corporate strategies (Benn & Dunphy, 2007). The firm also engages in institutionalisation of the programs and practices to facilitate recruitment of the best talent to the company reflecting high levels of competence among the individuals and relevant groups.

Phase 6: The Sustaining Corporation

According to Dunphy (2003), the final phase of the sustainability scale relates to the strong institutionalisation of the ideologies of a sustainable world. Evidently, the organisation acquire responsibility towards contributing to the process of renewing, as well as upgrading human knowledge and formation of skills within the community and society. Additionally, the organisation desires to exert enormous implication or influence on the major participants in the industry and society in pursuit of human welfare, equality, and just societal practices. Alternatively, the business entity or company focuses on the promotion of ecological sustainability values in the industry and society (Clifton, 2012). The company aims at assisting the community to work in sustainable ways through utilisation of the entire range of products and services.

The Triple Bottom Line

Reflective Journal: Sustainable Business

In the mid-1990s, John Elkington sought to develop a framework to facilitate measurement of sustainability among the organizations in the context of the United States, thus, the platform for the development of the triple bottom line (TBL). The framework sought to incorporate profits, the planet, and people in the course of assessing performance to support and facilitate realization of the sustainability goals in such organizations (Hall, 2011). From this perspective, the TBL framework is one of the business and accounting frameworks integrating three elements of performance: economic/financial, ecology/environmental and social measures.

It is possible to refer to the model or framework as the three Ps, thus, the people, profits, and planet. From a definitional perspective, TBL is one of the business or accounting tool, which plays a critical role in the course of capturing sustainability through assessment of the implications of organizational activities on the world inclusive of the shareholder values and profitability levels (Hubbard, 2009). One of the beneficial implications of the model is to enable business entities and organizations to align their values to sustainability. Similarly, perceptive business practitioners or professionals have the ability to utilize the model or framework in the course of identifying risks and opportunities in pursuit of sustainability and competitive advantage. Evidently, the model or framework provides the opportunity for the organization to reduce costs, increase revenues, mitigate potential risks, and tap into diverse opportunities, thus, valuable influence of the TBL framework.


Benn, S., & Dunphy, D. C. (2007). Corporate governance and sustainability: Challenges for theory and practice. Routledge.

Benn, S., Dunphy, D., & Griffiths, A. (2006). Enabling change for corporate sustainability: An integrated perspective. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 13(3), 156-165.

Clifton, D. (2012). Sustainable Business: Are we heading in the right direction?. Sustainability, 4(4), 586-603.

Dunphy, D. (2003). Corporate sustainability: challenge to managerial orthodoxies. Journal of Management and Organization, 9(1), 2.

Ganescu, M. C. (2012). Corporate social responsibility, a strategy to create and consolidate sustainable businesses. Theoretical and Applied Economics, 11(11), 91.

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