Sustainable Development Drivers

Sustainable Development Drivers

The Role of Leadership in Government, Business and NGO Performance

Edited by Kees Zoeteman

Sustainable development cannot be prescribed – rather, it results from conscious personal choices in government, business and NGOs. This thought-provoking book explores both the origins and future of the global sustainable development movement, and provides an original overview of the driving forces of sustainable development, including market forces and past and future trends.

Chapter 11: NGOs and Sustainability Attitudes

Wouter Kersten, Elena Akdanova and Kees Zoeteman

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, development studies, development studies, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics


Wouter Kersten, Elena Akdanova and Kees Zoeteman* SUMMARY Previous chapters in this book have introduced the concept of the sustainability attitude in the context of countries and companies. Recent research has added for the first time a third domain: the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For NGOs, the sustainability attitude level is associated to a large degree with the wide range of social functions fulfilled by the NGOs. NGO sustainability attitudes might therefore better be judged against functionality for their missions than in a moral context alone. This chapter presents the outcome of a preliminary attitude assessment that has been developed and tested by Enviu and Telos for 23 NGOs. The scores of most NGOs are between 2.8 and 3.8 – with only a few scoring lower (2.2 being the lowest). The outcome seems to indicate that NGOs either need public support, and thus employ a related profile, or are linked to an iconic person or subject, which requires a performance respecting other concerns. Such factors move NGOs away from low scores on the sustainability attitude scale – even if they tend to apply confrontational methods to achieve their awareness-building goals. In general, NGOs are not very broad in their action issues, are dependent on multiple financial resources, go beyond polarizing actions and are financially fully transparent to their public. Their own ecological footprint is often forgotten, but they all cooperate widely with other organizations. Their internal social policies are not a major concern, but the external attention they pay to educating and supporting...

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