Status of corporate sustainability: a content analysis of Fortune 500 companies


In order to explore and extend our understanding of corporate sustainability definitions and frameworks, we performed a content analysis of a sample of (2013) Fortune 500 companies' standalone sustainability reports using the content analysis tool, Leximancer ( Leximancer is a powerful content analysis tool that performs both conceptual and thematic analysis. In addition, Leximancer displays the results of the analyses visually, thus providing a view of the conceptual and thematic structure of the text, and enabling a researcher to quantify and display the text structure. The results of our analyses demonstrate three common themes (Business, Employees and Energy/Environment) observable across eight of the nine industries in our sample. In addition, we observed significant differences in the relative emphasis for the three common themes across industries. We believe a deeper understanding of the themes that motivate firms' sustainability efforts can enhance future research that explores relationships between organizational sustainability efforts and organizational performance.

Publication Title

Business Strategy and the Environment