University of Twente Student Theses


Towards Social Sustainability of Industrial Parks : The Dutch Case

Moshtaq, N.A. (2019) Towards Social Sustainability of Industrial Parks : The Dutch Case.

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Abstract:Today, as the world is facing enormous challenges regarding environmental crisis, fortunately the global economic sector is becoming more aware of the need for sustainable economic development. Therefore, in the past years many initiatives have been launched to move economic development towards a more sustainable direction. The development of industrial parks to faster economic development, tackle poverty and create jobs on local, regional and national levels, has played and is still playing a key role. Especially with policy makers who bare a great responsibility in the Netherlands to ensure economic prosperity and jobs for everyone. However, while much attention has been given to the economic and environmental dimension of the sustainability concept, the social dimension is less developed and embedded in the economic planning and activities of industrial parks. Therefore, this study is conducted to find out what the current status quo is regarding the concept of social sustainability in the context of industrial parks in the Netherlands. Throughout case study as research method, three industrial parks were selected, reviewed and analysed in order to find out “how the concept of social sustainability is perceived by the key-stakeholders of industrial parks”. These cases include a sustainable industrial park, a traditional industrial park which is currently in a transformation phase into a sustainable park and a traditional industrial park. Via in-depth interviews and observations at the selected industrial parks, the perception of key-stakeholders was analysed. The study has revealed that currently the understandings of key-stakeholders regarding ‘sustainability’ are mainly based on the environmental dimension. As for the social dimension, the key-stakeholders strongly associate it with ‘job creation’ for the communities despite the fact it covers many other relevant indicators as well. Furthermore, the analysis has revealed that an alignment in strategic planning and operational activities of the industrial parks and individual companies, is not included in the broader perspective of sustainability. This has mainly to do with the fact that a thorough understanding by the key-stakeholders regarding the concept is missing. In addition to that, the industrial parks and more specifically, individual companies are mainly profit oriented and do not see what the benefits of social sustainability might be for their business activities. Nevertheless, given the limitations of this study and the little response of individual companies, the findings of this research cannot be generalized to other cases in the Netherlands. Further studies should focus on exploring the possibilities for bottom-up approaches to move industrial parks to a more social sustainable park. This could be very interesting as current approaches are mainly focused on top-down. Individual companies are profit oriented and asks: “What is in-it for me? Why should I focus on (social) sustainability or Corporate Social Sustainability (CSR)?”. According to Flammer (2015), companies could benefit significantly if they operate more socially sustainable. Therefore, it could be interesting for further research to find out how to advocate for more socially sustainable industrial parks in the Netherlands. In this regard the focus of companies should be on value creation rather than on profit making to expand or survive.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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