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Sustainable Development in Business: Case Study of Subway

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 2381 words Published: 26th Feb 2020

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Table of Contents

Introduction Summary of approaches to sustainable development Application of two approaches in regards to its environmental effect, its purpose, responsibilities and risks Comparison of Approaches Conclusion References


The aim of this project is to foster the clean growth initiative through implement the sustainability approach among the business. This sustainability practice focuses on the CO2 emission and waste (Gimenez et al., 2012). Based on this, it tries to develop an eco-friendly environment. In regards to this, there are different approaches are undertaken in order to achieve the sustainable development. It includes triple bottom line, five capitals, natural capitalism, cradle to cradle, the circular economy and the balanced scorecard etc. These areas help to define business performance in context to clean and sustainable practice. Additionally, this study involves chose the organisation for analysing the business performances. In regards to this, Subway is selected and based on this; two approaches will apply into business in terms to evaluate the business performances in case of clean growth (Subway, 2018). The reason behind to implement the approach is to analyse the environmental impact, its purpose, responsibilities and risk etc. Besides that, the comparison study is done in regards to examine the impact of such approach over the clean initiative of business.

Summary of approaches to sustainable development

The increasing environmental issue give rise to the high concentration on the sustainability aspect. That’s why company focus shift extensively towards the green methods. However, sustainability development is considered as an economic growth which supports the optimum utilisation of available resources without depletion of natural resources. The sustainability approaches cover various areas like society, environment and economy etc.
  • The Triple Bottom Line: - Triple bottom line is considered as an accounting framework which covered three parts such as social, environmental and financial etc. However, organisation adopted the TBL aspect in order to examine the performances of business in a broader perspective (Slaper and Hall, 2011).
  • The Five Capitals: - The five-capital model of sustainability development is theoretical model that extend the understanding of economic sustainability through value assets other than financial once (Jayawarna et al., 2014). This tool is useful for organisation because it can be implemented into the reality manner. The approach includes economics, capital, built capital, human capital, social capital and natural capital etc.
  • Natural Capitalism: - This approach is based on four principles that are important for organisation in regards to perform in certain way (Markussen, 2013). Likewise, this approach pushes the business to focus on profit generation, motivation of employee and achieving the market share. Such area can be achieved through perform the task in an ethical manner like adopt zero waste, low emission of carbon etc.
  • Cradle to Cradle: - This approach is clearly justified with the sustainability practice as it promotes the strategy of regenerative cycle which means that organisation can recycle its existing product or raw material into the new one. Thus, this approach reflects the cyclical process instead of linear one which does not support the proper utilisation of resources.
  • The Circular Economy: - It is an alternative to the traditional linear economy as it focuses more on the make, use and dispose concept. This help to reduce the waste and promote the proper utilisation of resources.
  • The Balance Scorecard: - This approach is considered as a strategic planning and management system which organisation use to communicate what they are trying to achieve (Clavreul et al., 2012). It also includes the actions of examine and improve the several internal functions within the organisation. The result will be external outcomes. This approach also supports the concept of feedback in regards to bring necessary improvement in business operations. This help the business to evaluate its performances in today’s tough competition.

Application of two approaches in regards to its environmental effect, its purpose, responsibilities and risks

In respect to evaluate the business performances of firm, the approaches are selected and it is cradle to cradle and circular economy.

Cradle to Cradle Approach

This approach is considered as sustainable business strategies that focus on regeneration area where waste is recycled or reused. This action promotes the sustainability practice of firm. This approach proves to be helpful in regards to reduce maximum wastage and environmental issues (Bjørn and Hauschild, 2013). This approach can contribute efficiency for the selected company. Likewise, Subway is one of the famous food chain in UK & US market so it faced lots of problem related to food waste. In respect to this, Cradle to Cradle strategy could help the firm to solve the problem of excessive waste or improper utilisation of resources. This can be done through reuse or recycle the product (Brunner and Rechberger, 2015). Likewise, food packets and bottles can be reused. In that case, firm can ask from the visitor to return back the bottles or packet after taking food. This helps the firm to reuse the product. Such practice also helps to reduce the large cost investment over the packaging part. This methodology can also use at the food process where restaurant can reuse the left food for another purpose. However, the cradle to cradle approach also helps in the production as well as delivery process in terms to reduce waste. Thus the reduction of waste tend proves to be effective in terms to eliminate the problem of waste and environmental issue which is growing due to excessive pollution and toxic gases (Kiddee et al., 2013). However, the main objective of Cradle to Cradle approach is to grave approach is to decrease waste. In context to Subway, this approach objective will be suited well towards the business operation as subways wants to reduce the waste so in that case this strategy helps the firm to recycle or reuse the food product into new design and present as a new product in front of customer, thus, such innovation will help firm to control waste. It provides the positive impact on environment (Hawken et al., 2013). In regards to implement this strategy, responsibility is to adopt right technology and human resources and follows the ethical framework. Besides that, possible risk could be change in consumer taste and failure of technology. This can affect the firm ability to implement the approach.

Circular Economy Approach

Circular Economy approach promotes the concept of make, use and dispose. Such area results in reduction of waste. Thus, the implementation of this approach can help Subway to properly utilise its available resources in an optimised manner (Tukker, 2015). However, this strategy will help in the form of dispose the material when the product is completely used. This method can be used after the execution of cradle to cradle strategy. As the cradle strategy will help in the production and delivery point while circular economy assist after the fully consumption of product. Then the stage of dispose will get start (Genovese et al., 2017). Thus, this process will help subway to appropriately eliminate the waste and allows move towards the growth. In respect to this approach, the environmental impact tends to be positive because maximum disposition of product helps to reduce maximum waste and this promote the clean environment (Rostkowski et al., 2012). However, the main purpose of circular economy is to reduce waste by benefiting the society, environment and economy. This objective can help subway to satisfy community by offer quality product. Besides that, it can influences environment in a positive manner. Other than that, there is various responsibilities that firm need to follow. It includes development of right policy so that it supports the new strategies implementation. Other than that, proper communication network is another aspect that requires to covering into the business. Thus, such area could help the firm to successfully execute the strategies into business operations. However, there is probability of uncertainty in the form of obsolete of technology with the frequent up-gradation of technology. Thus, these areas clearly reflect the significance of such approach. Based on both approaches, it can be stated that Subway can eliminate maximum waste and optimally utilisation of resources (Su et al., 2013). It helps the firm to grow more in future scenario.

Comparison of Approaches

In regards to compare the above approaches, it is stated that cradle to cradle strategy is more emphasized on production and delivery process while circular economy is focused after the consumption of product. Thus, both approaches implements at different time. Likewise, cradle to cradle approach may help subway in regards to recycle or reuse the left product in the production process. This action may help the firm to reduce the waste and innovate something unique. It provides benefit in multiple ways like to eliminate the waste by offering new product to consumer. Such area results in higher growth of firm. At the same time, circular economy provides an advantage to Subway in regards to dispose the product in a fullest manner. This action any help to reduce maximum waste of food products. It also leads to control on the high emission of toxic component which occur from the waste. Such practices directly help towards the reduction of environmental problems. It also supports the clean growth of Subway by dispose the product instantly (Stahel, 2016). Thus, it gives positive ambiences to the place of subway and it attracts maximum consumer towards the restaurant of subway. Hence, it can be depicted that cradle to cradle and circular economy provides equal benefit to subway in regards to move towards the waste growth.


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that cradle to cradle and circular economy proves to be useful for Subway in regards to push waste growth. This is because both approach support the sustainable practice which is major requirement of current business environment. In regards to this, these approaches contribute efficiency in the form of increase value of product and environment. Besides that, this approach also able to address three aspects which are important for firm to focus and it includes social community, environment and economy. On the basis of study, it is summarised that both practice contribute productivity for Subway to implement waste growth.


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  • Brunner, P.H. and Rechberger, H., 2015. Waste to energy–key element for sustainable waste management. Waste Management37, pp.3-12.
  • Clavreul, J., Guyonnet, D. and Christensen, T.H., 2012. Quantifying uncertainty in LCA-modelling of waste management systems. Waste Management32(12), pp.2482-2495.
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  • Gimenez, C., Sierra, V. and Rodon, J., 2012. Sustainable operations: Their impact on the triple bottom line. International Journal of Production Economics140(1), pp.149-159.
  • Hawken, P., Lovins, A.B. and Lovins, L.H., 2013. Natural capitalism: The next industrial revolution. Routledge.
  • Jayawarna, D., Jones, O. and Macpherson, A., 2014. Entrepreneurial potential: The role of human and cultural capitals. International Small Business Journal32(8), pp.918-943.
  • Kiddee, P., Naidu, R. and Wong, M.H., 2013. Electronic waste management approaches: An overview. Waste management33(5), pp.1237-1250.
  • Markussen, T., 2013. The disruptive aesthetics of design activism: enacting design between art and politics. Design Issues29(1), pp.38-50.
  • Rostkowski, K.H., Criddle, C.S. and Lepech, M.D., 2012. Cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment for a cradle-to-cradle cycle: biogas-to-bioplastic (and back). Environmental science & technology46(18), pp.9822-9829.
  • Slaper, T.F. and Hall, T.J., 2011. The triple bottom line: What is it and how does it work. Indiana business review86(1), pp.4-8.
  • Stahel, W.R., 2016. The circular economy. Nature News531(7595), p.435.
  • Su, B., Heshmati, A., Geng, Y. and Yu, X., 2013. A review of the circular economy in China: moving from rhetoric to implementation. Journal of Cleaner Production42, pp.215-227.
  • Subway, 2018. Bigger is better. [Online] available at: https://www.subway.com/en-GB (Accessed on: 01-11-2018)
  • Tukker, A., 2015. Product services for a resource-efficient and circular economy–a review. Journal of cleaner production97, pp.76-91.


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