The CapSEM-model

A stepwise model of methods and tools for improving business sustainability

Capacity building in Sustainability and Environmental Management (CapSEM)

FONT 2 CHANGE 1 4 Level Model Cap SEM Final for Animation with annotation highest resolution Source: Fet and Knudson, 2020

Rapport med oversikt over verktøy for å kartlegge miljøfotavtrykk på ulike systemnivåer (pdf).

The initial CapSem-project, CapSEM – Capacity building in Sustainability and Environmental Management, was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union and has been conducted from October 2016 through October 2019. Read the report CAPACITY BUILDING in SUSTAINABILITY and ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (pdf).

The tools referred to in this model span both quantitative and qualitative methods; from material flow analysis (MFA) and life cycle assessment (LCA), to corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies, Industrial Ecology (IE) and Systems Engineering (SE) principles. For the majority of the tools and methods, the focus is on monitoring environmental aspects, especially in Levels 1 and 2. As one moves toward Levels 3, and especially 4, more complete sustainability aspects are considered – mandating the inclusion of social aspects. It is important to see the model as a transitionary process where environmental management strategies become more holistic and complete towards triple-bottom-line sustainability as tools at each level build upon each other.

The waves between levels demonstrate how the methods build upon each other. Each wave increases the number of environmental and social aspects managed and stakeholder needs incorporated into a firm’s strategy. As a firm moves from one wave to the next, they advance toward a higher level of sustainability maturity and a broader inclusion of stakeholders.

The four-level model can be regarded as the backbone of many roadmaps and standards for strategic and systemic innovation and implementation, and as a foundation for business decisions at different systems levels.

The boxes below provide more information on the methods and tools within each level.

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