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Abstract

The article is intended as a contribution to the ongoing conceptual development of corporate sustainability. At the business level sustainability is often equated with eco-efficiency. However, such a reduction misses several important criteria that firms have to satisfy if they want to become truly sustainable.

This article discusses how the concept of sustainable development has evolved over the past three decades and particularly how it can be applied to the business level. It then goes on to describe the three types of capital relevant within the concept of corporate sustainability: economic, natural and social capital.

From this basis we shall then develop the six criteria managers aiming for corporate sustainability will have to satisfy: eco-efficiency, socio-efficiency, eco-effectiveness, socio-effectiveness, sufficiency and ecological equity. The article ends with a brief outlook towards future research. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. and ERP Environment