Developing a sustainability accounting framework to inform strategic business decisions: a case study from the chemicals industry



Forum for the Future worked in partnership with a division of a blue-chip chemicals company (‘ChemCo’), to develop a framework for sustainable business decision-making. The supply chain impact framework was used to produce a six-stage analysis that allowed the assessment of ChemCo's operations and products on key stakeholders and contributed to key strategy setting and innovation processes. Of most significance to ChemCo were the final two sustainability accounting stages of this work, which found that the external environmental benefits of one of its products in use (a refrigerant lubricant) were eight times greater than the external environmental costs produced by the entirety of ChemCo's operations. These findings helped inform ChemCo's future economic, social and environmental sustainability strategy, whilst the action of conducting the research fostered greater communication and understanding between different sections of the business, developed new data collection and management processes and helped embed sustainable development objectives throughout the organization. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.