The CapSEM-model

A stepwise model of methods and tools for improving business sustainability

Capacity building in Sustainability and Environmental Management (CapSEM)

Cap SEM new model Source: Fet and Knudson, 2022

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The initial CapSEM-project, 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 CapSEM model (Capacity Building in Sustainability and Environmental Management model) is a stepwise model of methods for improving business sustainability.

The tools referred to in this model span both quantitative and qualitative methods; from Input-Output analysis and life cycle assessment (LCA), to corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies, material flow analysis (MFA), 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.

Report: "Verktøy for miljøfotavtrykk" - (Report in norwegian: Rapporten viser en oversikt over verktøy for å kartlegge miljøfotavtrykk på ulike systemnivåer (se pdf). Rapporten er utarbeidet for iKubens medlemmer og er levert av Møreforsking i 2020.

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

Annik Magerholm Fet

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Shannon Truloff

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Haley Knudson

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology