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Foundations of Sustainability Taxonomy

Posted on Aug 2017

Name of the theory

Date it was introduced


Theory Key Components

Corporate social responsibility


Archie Carroll developed the first renowned model of CSR performance.

The CSR theory indicates that an organization has four major obligations. The first obligation is the economic responsibility, whereby it is supposed to engage in the business of money making (Crowther, 2008). The second obligation is a legal responsibility, where an organization is expected to adhere to regulations and rules in the jurisdiction of operation (Crowther, 2008). The third one is the ethical responsibility, where it is supposed to do what is morally right by the rule of law. For example, protection of customers right event when it economic obligations is threatened. The last obligation according to this theory is the philanthropic one, where the organization is supposed to contribute to protecting aimed at improving the welfare of the greater society, which is independent of business, such as the offering of scholarships.

Four Capital Model


Ekins P and  J.Medhurst

The theory indicates that there are four major types of capital available in the society. These four capitals include human, social, physical and environmental. The environmental capital is made up of three major components, namely, renewable resources, environmental services, such as climate regulation and non-renewable sources (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014). The human capital is concerned with the supply of qualifications, skills, and talent for purposes of performing various professional related duties in the society. The physical capital is concerned with infrastructure, such as schools, roads, machinery and factories (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014). Lastly, social capital is concerned with sustainability efforts in the society in all the other three levels of capital.

Natural capitalism


Paul HawkenAmory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins

Natural capitalism model has different components. The first component is regarded as radical resource productivity which is concerned with maintaining natural sustainability by utilizing techniques, such as pollution reduction and slowing of resource depletion (Epstein & Buhovac, 2014). The second component is investing in natural capital is concerned with direct action as well as an emphasis on the creation of natural sustainability by restoring, sustaining as well as the expansion of natural capital stocks within the society. The third element is biomimicry, which focuses on continued reuse of materials within closed cycles so as to eliminate toxicity. The last component is flow and services economy and focuses on ensuring that there is sustainability in the utilization of resources and services within an economy.