Sustainability partnerships: Eco-strategy theory in practice?

Patricia Ryan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainability partnerships are a key component of Agenda 21. Drawing on theoretical and empirical research of relevance for eco-strategy and enviropreneurialism, this paper contends that it is unlikely that there will ever be “shelf” models for sustainability partnerships. Existing interdependence and responsibility strategies, however, should inspire an ongoing learning process for businesses that are interested in contributing to the achievement of Agenda 21. Four “L”s of eco-strategy – learning, legal compliance and beyond, leadership and leverage – are suggested as optimising sustainability strategies for businesses involved in business-business partnerships and value chain extensions of these, as well as broader global, sectoral and localised government-community-business alliances. While the ultimate poetic partnership – a global “natural world-human world” partnership – may be beset by Utopian paradoxes and ambiguities, it remains a powerful vision for decision makers who are concerned about unsustainable legacies of conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-278
Number of pages23
JournalManagement of Environmental Quality: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


  • Environment
  • Ethics
  • Green issues
  • Learning
  • Partnering
  • Strategy


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