Volume 20, Article 3

Sustainable Mission Statement of International Firms: An Empirical Study

Dr. Muslima Zahan*
Hafiza Sultana**

Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the sustainability commitment disclosure in corporate missions of international organizations. The authors selected 103 industry leaders from Dow Jones Sustainability Index during 2011-2018. Secondary data was collected from the DJSI official website and corporate websites of the sampled firms. The descriptive statistics confirm that, sustainability performance of developed world is better than that in developing economies. Organizations in Switzerland are the most sustainability-driven, followed by firms in Australia, Europe and the United States. In addition, the content analysis demonstrates that sustainability leaders (83 percent) expressed sustainability concerns in the corporate missions. However, the disclosure of the commitment is rather imbalanced, most focused on social dimension (33 percent), and then on economic (25 percent) and environmental (21 percent) dimensions. Furthermore, almost one-third (28 percent) firms presented all three dimensions of sustainability, whereas there is lack of integration among the sustainability communication across different dimensions. The study is a significant contribution to sustainability and sustainable strategy research. By incorporating a cross-industry and cross-country sample, it further explains the necessity of developing a sustainable corporate mission as a part of an organization’s strategic planning. Furthermore, it suggested practical implications which might assist managers to communicate sustainability commitments in the strategic planning, especially, in the mission statements, in a clearer and more complete manner.

Key words: mission statement, sustainable strategy, corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, Dow Jones Sustainability Index

* Assistant Professor, School of Business and Economics, North South University, Basundhara R/A Dhaka 1229, Bangladesh. E-mail: muslima.zahan@northsouth.edu
** Research Associate, ReLight Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mail: hsultanahasan@gmail.com