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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Davide Stonati

Corporate sustainability: A Tool to Progress Sustainable Development

Davide Stonati

Corporate sustainability: A Tool to Progress Sustainable Development

The aim of my dissertation is to study real cases of sustainability principles applied by companies, to establish if it can be a valid approach to mitigate triple bottom line impacts and to manage risks in projecting and building oil and gas pipelines in developing countries.  The research comprises an investigation into the latest developments within the corporate sustainability debate, at a theoretical and practical level. Wilson’s and Hockerts’ work is reviewed, yielding a concept of corporate sustainability, which requires corporate growth and profitability, as well as pursuing societal goals, specifically those relating to sustainable development such as environmental protection, social justice and equity, and economic development (Wilson, 2003).


In this context, some of the top global banks showed commitment to sustainability adopting “The Equator Principles” in June 2003 which are a framework for financial institutions to manage environmental and social issues in financing large infrastructure projects.


 The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyahn (BTC) oil pipeline has been chosen and analysed as a benchmark with the purpose of showing a best practice approach to sustainability issues by BP, the key company involved in this large project. It represents also the first major test for the Equator Principles.


An analysis of the Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados (OCP) in Ecuador has been conducted as well in order to understand a different approach to managing a pipeline’s triple bottom line impacts and relative consequences to companies and banks.


The comparison of the two cases allowed me to formulate an evaluation of corporate sustainability approaches useful in managing environmental, social, and reputational risks, avoiding delays to completion and reducing cost overruns.