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date: 20 October 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article characterizes two distinct perspectives in the field of business and environment—weak and strong sustainability. It specifically investigates the distinction between corporate environmental management or “weak sustainability” and the business contribution to sustainable development or “strong sustainability”. It first explains the different ways of framing the two concepts. It then explores what it means for a business to build capacity for weak and for strong sustainability. A brief statement on the implications for future research and education that stem from these distinctions is presented. Weak and strong sustainability are differentiated by their approach to integration, the ambition of the vision of change, the complexity of the innovation and the extent of collaboration among social, political, and economic actors. Weak sustainability is not sufficient to bring about the transition to a sustainable future.

Keywords: weak sustainability, strong sustainability, corporate environmental management, business contribution, education

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