Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


A changing business climate has led many organizations to embrace environmental sustainability and social responsibility; however, organizational roles and responsibilities in sustainability initiatives have not been clearly defined. This paper specifically examines the role of environmental managers in advancing environmental sustainability and social responsibility. It is part of a broader study to identify the extent to which various departments or functional units within an organization are prepared to play a role in these initiatives based on a survey of various professionals in relation to activities and action items derived from the ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility. As expected, the findings indicate that environmental managers are positioned to play a critical role in advancing environmental sustainability and social responsibility in their organizations. However, there appears to be disparity between the role that environmental managers indicated they are prepared to play and the perceptions of their role held by others in the organization. While environmental managers indicated that they would support or play a major role in 18 of the 35 action items on which they were surveyed, professionals from other functional units indicated that environmental managers would be involved in only a few key areas focused on traditional environmental issues associated with pollution prevention and waste management. This suggests that environmental managers are prepared to play a much broader role in the organization’s sustainability and social responsibility efforts but may not be fully utilized in this capacity.