As a consequence of the changing conditions of doing business, the number of industrial and company-specific codes of conduct, as well as social and environmental standards is increasing rapidly. The decision to adopt such standards and to develop effective implementation strategies has engrossed managers at all levels and in all types of organisations in recent years. Some organisations have claimed that compliance issues have been determining their bottom-line and business performance in the market place. This conceptual paper addresses the challenge of how sustainable development can be achieved, suggesting that social and environmental standards has a part to play within the paradigm of sustainable development. Three specific internationally established standards are discussed: Environmental Management system (EMS), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and Fair Trade. These institutionalized approaches are described and then contrasted in relation to a number of different factors. The paper concludes that the implementation of social standards principles in UK can contribute to the development of long-term sustainable development goals.
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