Corporations and Sustainability: The South Asian Perspective
Revised deadline: June 30, 2013
*Please note this was originally circulated as a theme issue for Greener Management International*
Background to the theme
The last two decades have seen rapid and often dramatic changes in the institutional, economic and ecological contexts faced by firms operating in South Asian economies. The most significant driver of this change has been the economic liberalisation attempts of national governments resulting in easier and faster flows of information, labour and capital between these economies and the rest of the world. Consequently, global environmental and social concerns are increasingly driving governmental and corporate decision-making processes for firms operating in South Asia.
The example of India is a case in point. Both as a result of the Indian government’s attempts to integrate with global markets and its large market potential, India has emerged as an important destination for firms seeking to establish their presence in South Asia. While India’s liberalisation attempts are of recent vintage, rapid industrialisation has been a high priority of successive governments since early 1950s. The somewhat frenetic pace of industrialisation without supporting infrastructure has caused severe environmental degradation in many areas, thereby making effective environmental management an issue of urgent national priority. Further, despite having a comprehensive legislative framework, the quantum of national-level losses associated with poor environmental performance is staggering. In the Indian case, the environmental cost of degradation has been estimated to be around 10% of the country’s GDP.
In many South Asian economies recent policy reforms have focused on export-led growth, particularly in industries such as manufactured goods and outsourced services in which these countries are perceived to have a comparative advantage. These industries include food processing, transportation, power generation, fuels, textiles, leather, drugs and pharmaceuticals, information technology, and other service sectors. However, the success of this approach will depend on local firms’ ability to meet importer-specified standards, which may include environmental and social criteria. Consequently, global concerns, such as climate change, destruction of global commons, poverty alleviation and labour rights have become important factors in the decision-making of firms active in South Asian markets.
Accompanying these firm-level changes is an intense debate on the issue of economic growth and industrial greening at the national level. While industrial sustainability is well understood in the developed-country contexts, greening or sustainability may differ in terms of approaches as well as outcomes in emerging economies. Available evidence indicates that economic growth driven by economic liberalisation and rapid industrialisation may lead to adverse environmental impacts unless managed properly. The problem is more critical for the South Asian subcontinent where a number of countries, including India’s immediate neighbours such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, have also embarked on their own reform programmes.
In responding to these emerging challenges, firms have begun to re-evaluate and redesign their strategies, structures and processes as well as incorporate sustainability principles into their strategies. Despite these attempts, several barriers still hamper the sustainability initiatives of firms operating in emerging economies. These include prevailing market conditions, the absence of institutional incentives, the lack of appropriate infrastructural support, and poor access to cleaner technologies and financial resources for small and medium-sized enterprises.
This edited collection aims to examine issues related to building an environmentally sustainable industrial system from an emerging-economy perspective, with specific emphasis on the subcontinent. In particular, contributions are being sought to address the following topics (submissions are also welcome on additional areas not indicated below):
• Incorporation of sustainability concerns on the strategic decision-making processes of firms
• Impact of sustainability issues on firm/industry-level competitive advantage
• Regulatory impact on sustainability practices and corporate governance
• Facilitators and barriers to the eco-transformation of firms and industries
• Integrated responses to climate change
• Energy management initiatives including renewable energy
• Green manufacturing initiatives
• Ecopreneurship (environmental entrepreneurship)
• Sustainable design initiatives
• Sustainable marketing initiatives
• Supply chain management, especially studies of individual value chains
• Industrial ecology initiatives
• Waste management
• Sustainable/socially responsible investment approaches
• Sustainability reporting initiatives
• Risk management and corporate communications
• Stakeholder management, especially community engagement initiatives
• Experiences in adoption of certifiable international standards
• Adoption of voluntary standards, self-regulation and collaborative approaches
• New and emerging business models such as base of the pyramid (BOP)
• Sector-specific initiatives, especially those in the information technology, manufacturing and service sectors
• Other corporate social responsibility or sustainability approaches adopted
We invite contributions from practitioners, researchers and scholars to submit theoretical (but applicable and relevant) papers as well as appropriate case studies. We particularly welcome submissions that use a comparative analytic framework and utilise empirical evidence to address theoretical questions. Theoretical papers should be between 4,000 and 8,000 words and case studies between 2,500 and 4,000 words in length. All papers will be peer-reviewed. For more information see the author guidelines on our website or contact the Editor and/or Publisher (details below).
Completed papers should be submitted via email to the Publisher Claire Jackson no later than 30 June 2013. Initial expressions of interest in the form of abstracts of approximately 300 words are also welcome prior to full submission.
• Full paper submissions: 30 June 2013
• Revised paper submissions (where appropriate): 30 October 2013
The book will publish in early summer 2014.
Professor P.D. Jose
Corporate Strategy and Policy Area
Indian Institute of Management
Phone: 91-80-26582450 ext. 3092; 26993092 (Direct). Fax: 91-80-26584050.
S3 8GG, UK