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Other publication2010Peer reviewed

The Sustainable Value approach: A clarifying and constructive comment

Ang, Frederic; Van Passel, Steven


Recently, the original benchmarking methodology of the Sustainable Value approach became subjected to serious debate. While Kuosmanen and Kuosmanen (2009b) critically question its validity introducing productive efficiency theory, Figge and Hahn (2009) put forward that the implementation of productive efficiency theory severely conflicts with the original financial economics perspective of the Sustainable Value approach. We argue that the debate is very confusing because the original Sustainable Value approach presents two largely incompatible objectives. Nevertheless, we maintain that both ways of benchmarking could provide useful and moreover complementary insights. If one intends to present the overall resource efficiency of the firm from the investor's viewpoint, we recommend the original benchmarking methodology. If one on the other hand aspires to create a prescriptive tool setting up some sort of reallocation scheme, we advocate implementation of the productive efficiency theory. Although the discussion on benchmark application is certainly substantial, we should avoid the debate to become accordingly narrowed. Next to the benchmark concern, we see several other challenges considering the development of the Sustainable Value approach: (1) a more systematic resource selection, (2) the inclusion of the value chain and (3) additional analyses related to policy in order to increase interpretative power. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


sustainable value; eco-efficiency; sustainability assessment; sustainability

Published in

Ecological Economics
2010, Volume: 69, number: 12, pages: 2303-2306

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