Navigating the Sustainability Landscape: Impact Pathways and the Sustainability Ethic as Moral Compass

Matthew Archer

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Sustainability professionals believe their work has positive social and environmental impacts in the “real world,” but they recognize that their impactfulness is contingent on a number of other factors, especially the willingness of other, typically more powerful actors to consider their fi ndings and implement their recommendations. In this article, I develop the notion of “impact pathways” to think about the relationship between paths, maps, travelers, terrains, and ethics in the context of what my informants regularly refer to as the sustainability “landscape.” I show how the interpretation of a map and the choice between diff erent possible paths can be partially explained by an actor’s particular ethical framework, in this case something I identify as the sustainability ethic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFocaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology
Issue number91
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 1. Oktober 2020


  • Corporate sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Impact
  • Impact pathways
  • Work

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