Using a case study approach, this article examines how an Australian bank supports and invests in social sustainability using a community development approach. Bendigo Bank's community engagement model (CEM) is consistent with a stakeholder perspective of the firm. The CEM is a hybrid model drawing on commercial principles, such as the for-profit shareholder-ownership structure, and community development values, such as trust, loyalty, integrity, volunteerism, cooperation and community spirit. The CEM contributes to community development by retaining local capital through a revenue-share arrangement, which is used to invest in further community enhancement initiatives. The success of Bendigo Bank's CEM indicates that the ‘collaborative commerce’ model could be used as a design guideline for other organizations seeking to improve their social sustainability. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.