Title

The Sustainability Syndicate: Shared Responsibility in a Trans-organizational Business Model

Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

7-2013

Abstract

This paper proposes design principles for the ‘sustainability syndicate’: shared responsibility among diverse stakeholders for sustainability; an agenda for unifying economic and ethical rationales; and plural governance based primarily on markets, contracts and collaborative relationships. The paper suggests a research agenda directed at issues that constrain sustainability syndicates. Syndication's contributions to sustainability build upon its trans-organizational structures for shared responsibility. Syndication works as an insurance cooperative that reduces the financial burden of risk. In addition, members could rent skill sets from other stakeholders, reduce barriers to entry into bigger projects, and improve efficiencies. As underlying sustainability are both economic and ethical rationales for shared responsibility, sustainability syndicates induct diverse non-commercial stakeholders into inclusive settings. A unifying agenda in these settings, as it grapples with externalities and constructs welfare-enhancing solutions, enhances sustainability brand differentiation. Plural self-governance, as it corrects for failures of individual self-governance modes, enables market making and market access, reduces transaction costs in contracting, and enables members to build the trust and commitment necessary for collaborations. Sustainability syndicates obviate the need for command-and-control interventions. Although institutional, performance and instrumental constraints still remain, syndicate business models offer potentially game-changing strategies in sustainability marketing.

Keywords

Business model, Trans-organizational structure, Sustainability, Syndicate, Stakeholder responsibility, Plural governance

Discipline

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Marketing

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Industrial Marketing Management

Volume

42

Issue

5

First Page

765

Last Page

772

ISSN

0019-8501

Identifier

10.1016/j.indmarman.2013.05.014

Publisher

Elsevier