At CSI, our mission is to support the sustainability movement by focusing on the application and improvement of innovation in business. Of particular interest to us is the transformation of innovation processes in medium and large corporations from unsustainable patterns to sustainable ones. Our focus in this regard is more on innovation processes than outcomes, and on the capacity of an organization to sustainably learn.
Thus, our agenda is grounded in a view which sees some patterns of business innovation as being more sustainable than others. Sustainable patterns more often produce sustainable outcomes, hence their importance. Such patterns are predictable and recognizable, and tend to mirror a natural logic of problem or error detection, followed by trial-and-error for solutions. Most corporations block or interfere with these patterns, and we hope to correct that.
Truly adaptive organizations also require unimpeded access to information about how they're doing and whether or not their operations are sustainable. For this reason, we are also dedicated to innovating for sustainability ourselves, and are working on several related initiatives. Our focus on that front is on enhancing the Corporate Sustainability Management and Reporting function itself. See the Our Work page on this website for more information about that.
The Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created in 2004 by its founder and Executive Director, Mark W. McElroy, Ph.D. Its purpose is to conduct research, development, training and consulting for, and with, companies around the world interested in improving the sustainability performance of their operations.
What differentiates CSO from others in the sustainability arena is its strong commitment to an approach for corporate sustainability measurement, management and reporting that is context-based (i.e., that interprets sustainability performance in terms of impacts on vital capital resources relative to norms, standards or thresholds for what such impacts would have to be in order to be sustainable).
CSO’s founder and Executive Director, Mark W. McElroy, Ph.D., is also board chair emeritus of the Donella Meadows Institute in Norwich, VT, and formerly led the Center for Sustainability Performance at Deloitte Consulting in Waltham, MA. Mark is also affiliated with the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, where he developed the Social Footprint Method as the subject of his doctoral dissertation in 2008. In addition to his work with CSO, Mark also teaches in the Managing for Sustainability MBA program at Marlboro College in Vermont.