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Keywords:

  • corporate sustainability;
  • system sustainability;
  • firm-level sustainability;
  • ecological modernization;
  • socio-economic change

Abstract

This article seeks to extend understanding of how sustainability is operationalized in firms by considering the example of Interface Inc. In particular, we assess the sustainability policy and strategies of Interface Inc. within the frame recourse of an ecological modernization (EM) perspective of sustainability. One question of particular interest is whether organizations are able to implement an EM-aligned worldview through their own internal capabilities or whether changes to the wider socio-economic system are required. The analysis of Interface's experiences suggests that, at this stage, an organization cannot fully adhere to an EM perspective of sustainability; its success is also dependent on changes to the wider socio-economic system in which the firm operates. The critical factors in implementing sustainability that emerged from the Interface case study are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.