This paper presents a first time empirical analysis of sustainable management and performance in public organizations. Prior evidence from private firms on the relationship between sustainable management and performance indicates that the benefits of adopting social responsibility practices accrue across a number of dimensions of performance. Empirical analysis of English local government suggests that sustainable management is related to sustainability performance but not to other measures of organizational performance. These conclusions raise questions about the nature of sustainable management in public agencies and the measurement of performance. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.