Development of a systematic framework for sustainability management of organizations

Waqas Nawaz, Muammer Koç

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose In the past decade, various types of organizations all over the world have made numerous efforts to include sustainability in the management systems. These efforts have only partly been able to manage sustainability since these were focused to address specific needs of different type of organizations; mostly to comply with regulations. Therefore, a holistic consideration of sustainability in management systems was neglected. The current study is an attempt to fill this gap and highlight the imperative features of sustainability management from organizational point of view. Methodology This research is designed to conduct a comprehensive and systematic literature review which targets three different dimensions of sustainability management at organizational level; sustainability management and assessment frameworks published in academic journals, and standardized international guidelines for incorporating sustainability in management systems. Findings The findings of the literature review reveal that the operational parameters required to systematically undertake the essential elements of sustainability in management systems, and the inter-relationship of those parameters, have been largely ignored. Furthermore, integration of sustainability assessment in the management models has been overlooked. Originality value In order to fill this gap, a generic sustainability management framework is proposed with a three-dimensional insight on organizational sustainability management. The threefold focus ensures that the proposed framework is: (1) fundamentally correct, (2) consistent with the established international standardized guidelines, and (3) embedded with an assessment tool which keeps the focus of sustainability management system in the intended direction. The contribution of this paper is unique from existing relevant studies for two main reasons: (1) the authors have undertaken the management of sustainability as a distinct concept rather than the integration of existing MSs and MSSs, which many authors have done in past; and (2) the proposed framework establishes clear and distinct connections between the processes required to systematically manage sustainability, rather than trying to stitch what exists in the ad hoc systems. Implications The advantages of this framework include extensive involvement of stakeholders, enhanced transparency, adaptiveness, and organized development and assessment of the sustainability management system. Moreover, multi-dimensional focus of the proposed framework is one of its strengths; economic, quality, environmental, health and safety, and social challenges can all be managed through the application of this framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1274
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2018



  • Integrated management systems
  • ISO guidelines for sustainable management system
  • Management system standards
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Sustainability management system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this