Nonprofits, corporations can collaborate to improve environmental management

CHAPEL HILL -- A new breed of nonprofit and corporate leader is trading tension and distrust for collaboration to improve corporate environmental practices in significant and lasting ways, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say.

Their report, "Partnering for Sustainability: Managing Nonprofit Organization-Corporate Environmental Alliances," outlines factors that contribute to the most effective collaborations. It outlines their study exploring experiences and interactions -- both adversarial and collaborative -- between environmental nonprofits and corporations and the factors that determine success.

"These nonprofits and corporations are finding that by joining their substantial, complementary resources, they can achieve greater environmental protection and corporate profitability," said Dr. Dennis A. Rondinelli, Glaxo Distinguished International Professor of Management at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Rondinelli, also director of the Center for Global Research at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, the business school's research and outreach arm, conducted the study with Kenan-Flagler doctoral student Ted London.

Traditionally, nonprofits and corporations address environmental issues through protracted and public conflicts, lengthy administrative processes in government agencies and costly litigation in the courts. Recently, a number of environmental nonprofits have teamed with corporations to launch a wide range of community and international environmental projects, Rondinelli and London wrote. These alliances focus on developing clean manufacturing and pollution prevention processes and technologies, exploring environmentally neutral or beneficial products and services and helping conserve natural resources and improve environmental conditions.

The World Wildlife Fund, for example, forged a partnership with Unilever to help save the world's fisheries. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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