History of the Embedding Project

In 2010, Dr. Stephanie Bertels developed the original embedding framework outlining a portfolio of business practices that help companies embed sustainability as part of a Systematic Review and Executive Report on Embedding Sustainability she completed for the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS). This framework draws upon nearly 14,000 academic articles, books and reports to bring together the best available knowledge on how to embed sustainability in business.

The original framework was enthusiastically received by the business community. Firms requested more information and sought direct guidance on how to implement it. In response, Dr. Bertels and NBS launched an Embedding Sustainability Working Group, which brought together 12 companies across North America, Europe, and Africa over a period of three years to refine the framework into a diagnostic tool to assess a company's maturity.

Initial partner companies found value in our rigorous approach and today this has been formalised as the Embedding Project, hosted at Simon Fraser University. Our Practices Assessment continues to help companies understand their progress, identify gaps, and compare their efforts to others. Our peer networks help companies learn from other leading companies across sectors while our communities of practice help companies take a deep dive into key topics. Companies benefit from our systematic work to gather, rigorously compare, and learn from their strategies and tactics, seeking out the best and most relevant knowledge to produce guidebooks and toolkits that further their progress.

Wanting to see this important research continue, our partners have committed to funding our work. Leveraging these commitments, we successfully secured multi-year funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. As a result, the Embedding Project will continue to partner with leading researchers and its global member companies to develop new diagnostic tools, assessments, guidebooks, and toolkits that help chart a path to good business.

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