The Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management researches public policy, management and financial tools that can enable organizations to incorporate the physical dimensions of sustainability into routine organizational decision making.
After decades at the periphery of public and private agendas, sustainability has emerged at the center of our economic and political dialogue as a means of addressing critical global challenges. Concurrently, organizations and governments large and small have begun to recognize the importance of ensuring the sustainability of core operations, business models and their interactions with our planet’s ecosystems. Policies and strategies designed to achieve sustainability, however, lack general acceptance, due to the different interpretations of sustainability itself. Existing methods of defining, measuring and operationalizing sustainability have largely been developed based on a definition of sustainability that is fed by national-level data, which often fails to capture what is important for individual organizations and may not be relevant for sub-national decision-makers, managers and other stakeholders. On the other hand, the participatory approach to measures of sustainability proposed by many organizations lack a scientific foundation, suffer from an absence of parsimony and cannot account for diverse sustainability goals.
The Earth Institute's Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management seeks to address these broad challenges of implementing sustainability at the organizational level and focuses on the day-to-day decisions and actions of organizations as they routinely deliver goods and services. The central challenge is to make sustainability an organizational routine, fully integrated into every aspect of organizational life.