At the Doughty Centre, we have been refining a model for embedding sustainability, which first emerged from the Academy of Business in Society (ABIS) Colloquium hosted at Cranfield in 2008. This model, first proposed by then Cranfield doctoral student, David Ferguson, based on his PhD thesis looking at embedding sustainability in EDF Energy, encompassed all the elements cited in the 2010 Accenture/UNGC survey of CEOs of companies which are signatories to the U N Global Compact. This identified : board oversight; sustainability embedded in strategy and operations of subsidiaries; embedded in global supply chains; participation in collaborations and multi - stakeholder partnerships; and engagement with stakeholders such as investors. However, we also explicitly incorporate the importance of leadership (‘top down’) and employee engagement (‘ bottom up’). We include more operational enablers such as knowledge management and training for sustainability; engaging a wide range of stakeholders other than just investors (important though it is better to explain to investors how sustainable development will change the strategy of business and to cultivate stewardship (i.e. long - term share - holders rather than share - traders ) and the role of the specialist corporate responsibility (CR)/sustainability function.

For a long time, we called this the “Bulls-eye” model after a shooting or archery target, where the aim is to score a bulls-eye - the centre circle of the target. We recognised, however, the inherent weaknesses of this term, as it suggested a static and disconnected set of components. In applying the metaphor to business, an organisation must actively manage both the inner and outer rings while aiming at the centre: the bulls - eye. Consultees on earlier drafts of our 2014 paper, Business Critical: Understanding a Comp any’s Current and Desired Stages of Corporate Responsibility Maturity, suggested a pyramid as an alternative. In the end, we have retained the “target” but added in a “jigsaw” motif to suggest the inherent inter-connectivity between all the elements. They are not independent of each other. Thus, for example, collaborations/partnerships /networks (Operational) should relate to Energising Value Chain (strategy); Management Skills, Knowledge & training (operational) should relate to Engaging Employees (strategy); Communication s and stakeholder engagement (operational ) should relate to key targets and measurement, incentives (strategy ); specialist function (operational) should relate to embedding in strategic business units and functions (strategy ) and so on. In order to achieve sustainability all components of our model need to be aligned.

Companies must manage inter-connected elements of an Embedded Jigsaw Target to achieve sustainability.

Read more about how the Embedded Jigsaw Target model can be applied in our 2014 paper by David Grayson and David Slattery, Renewing Capitalism: Reflections.

Embedded Jigsaw Model