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Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility Call for Papers (2021) “Corporate Change Agents for Sustainability: Transforming Organizations from Inside Out”

Guest Editors: Stefan Schaltegger, Verena Girschik, Hannah Trittin-Ulbrich, Thibault Daudigeos, Ilka Weissbrod

The editors claim creating a company that operates within planetary boundaries and contributes to meeting the UN SDGs “requires fundamental organizational transformations.” The special issue will focus on how individuals in companies bring about such transformations for their employers. These people are “change agents for sustainability.”

Research on internal champions and middle managers suggests people in such roles have considerable influence on resource allocation and organizational change. But research also suggests employees face constraints on influencing their organizations and can be seen as “zealots” or misfits who are then marginalized or even expelled from the organization.

The call for papers suggests work on many aspects of employee-driven organizational change, such as change agent strategies, change processes and pathways at various positions within organizations, ethical issues, change failures associated with resistance from reactionary colleagues or stakeholders, how business school education can build change agent skills, and scholars might further incorproate feminist or critical perspectives into our understanding of organizational change.

The Science Based Targets 2020 Annual Progress Report

Science Based Targets. (2021). From Ambition to Impact: How Companies Are Reducing Emissions at Scale with Science-based Targets [Science Based Targets Annual Progress Report]. https://sciencebasedtargets.org/sbti-progress-report-2020

Founded in 2015, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guides companies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. More than 1,000 companies have completed the SBTi process and committed to targets. Companies with approved targets produce 3.6% of global emissions through Scopes 1 and 2. While companies with SBTs have reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions 25% since 2015, global emissions from energy and industrial processes grew 3.4% over the same period.

More transparency is needed from companies on their emissions reductions progress. Standardization of reporting is needed to make company reports comparable.

Keeping global warming to 1.5C or below benefits businesses by

  • Increasing economic stability,
  • Reducing flood and extreme weather risks,
  • Reducing workforce exposure to extreme heat, drought, and food stress,
  • Reducing risk of water shortages.

Of the companies with SBTs, 373 (41%) are aligned with a target consistent with keeping global warming below 1.5C.

In the majority of sectors, the largest emissions source is Scope 3, either upstream or downstream from the focal company’s operational emissions. 69 companies have set supplier engagement targets requiring suppliers set SBTs.