Our research aims to understand how companies addressed and revisited their SDGs engagement during COVID-19. The study conducts semi-structured interviews with the sustainability managers of 16 Italian listed companies acting for the accomplishment of the SDGs. Then, the interviews’ transcripts and the companies’ sustainability reports were thematically analysed to tease out relevant findings. Our findings show that companies have intensified their SDGs efforts during COVID-19, implementing an approach closer to the ‘Sustainability for Braving Crisis’. Our findings unveil the transformational mechanisms which determined and facilitated this improvement at three levels of the business SDGs engagement: ‘WHY’ (general awareness and motivations), ‘HOW’ (governance mechanisms, organizational structure, and stakeholder dialogue), and ‘WHAT’ (SDGs identification and prioritization and actions for the SDGs). These findings uncover the mechanisms through which a global crisis may prompt and catalyse sustainable business practices, acting as i) an inspirational and empowering event, ii) an organisational lever, and iii) a reference point. Our research has important implications for practice and policy, since it offers managers and stakeholders guidance to understand how companies have reshaped their sustainability practices during the pandemic, and drives future corporate responses in times of crisis. Our study shows that a crisis may be a powerful lever to intensify business sustainability practices toward a better contribution to the SDGs. Our study focuses on how companies have revised their SDGs practices when faced with a global crisis such as COVID-19.

Business engagement for the SDGs in COVID-19 time: an Italian perspective

Scarpa, Francesco
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Our research aims to understand how companies addressed and revisited their SDGs engagement during COVID-19. The study conducts semi-structured interviews with the sustainability managers of 16 Italian listed companies acting for the accomplishment of the SDGs. Then, the interviews’ transcripts and the companies’ sustainability reports were thematically analysed to tease out relevant findings. Our findings show that companies have intensified their SDGs efforts during COVID-19, implementing an approach closer to the ‘Sustainability for Braving Crisis’. Our findings unveil the transformational mechanisms which determined and facilitated this improvement at three levels of the business SDGs engagement: ‘WHY’ (general awareness and motivations), ‘HOW’ (governance mechanisms, organizational structure, and stakeholder dialogue), and ‘WHAT’ (SDGs identification and prioritization and actions for the SDGs). These findings uncover the mechanisms through which a global crisis may prompt and catalyse sustainable business practices, acting as i) an inspirational and empowering event, ii) an organisational lever, and iii) a reference point. Our research has important implications for practice and policy, since it offers managers and stakeholders guidance to understand how companies have reshaped their sustainability practices during the pandemic, and drives future corporate responses in times of crisis. Our study shows that a crisis may be a powerful lever to intensify business sustainability practices toward a better contribution to the SDGs. Our study focuses on how companies have revised their SDGs practices when faced with a global crisis such as COVID-19.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5018767
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