Perception of Sustainability and Strategies of Bulgarian Companies




CSR, ESG, Strategy, Company Size, ESG Factors, Employment Brand


Purpose: The article aims to investigate how different understanding of ESG and/or CSR influence the adoption of formal ESG/CSR policy and relevant activities, and which factors are related to it as there is a gap in research

on the formation of ESG/CSR strategy.


Theoretical Framework: ESG strategies are one of the critical components for ensuring sustainable growth (Liang et al., 2022), but the understanding of the concept is not necessarily guaranteed. Moreover, despite the increasing interest in the topic, the literature concerning transition and emerging economies and ESG practices is still quite limited (Garcia et al., 2017).


Design/Methodology/Approach: We surveyed various national companies with scalability about their perception and implementation of CSR/ESG and identified three clusters of enterprises based on their understanding of responsibility and sustainability. We analyzed the likelihood of adopting a CSR/ESG strategy for each type.


Findings: The study reveals different elements which impact the process of forming a sustainability strategy in a transition economy and confirms the one of significant precondition is the company size. In addition, strong brands are seen as predictor of a strategy implementation.


Research, Practical & Social Implications: We suggest that business which tend to address the dimension of sustainability have a comprehensive attitude toward strategy adoption and for effectively practicing sustainability awareness of the concept and all its dimensions is key. Based on the classification of the different companies their CSR/ESG activities could be analyzed.


Originality/Value: The results show major factors of sustainability which are crucial to implement a formal sustainability strategy.


Download data is not yet available.


Berber, N., Susnjar, G. S., Slavic, A., & Baosic, M. (2014). Relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resource Management—As new management concepts – in Central and Eastern Europe. Engineering Economics, 25(3), Article 3.

Bowen, H. R. (1953). Social responsibilities of the businessman ([1st ed.]). Harper.

Branco, M. C., & Delgado, C. (2012). Business, social responsibility, and corruption. Journal of Public Affairs, 12(4), 357–365.

Calveras, A., & Ganuza, J.-J. (2018). Corporate social responsibility and product quality. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 27(4), 804–829.

Camara, P., & Morais, F. (Eds.). (2022). The Palgrave Handbook of ESG and Corporate Governance. Springer International Publishing.

Chang, Y.-J., & Lee, B.-H. (2022). The Impact of ESG Activities on Firm Value: Multi-Level Analysis of Industrial Characteristics. Sustainability, 14(21), Article 21.

Csillag, S. & Gyori, Z. (n.d.). 4, 860–872.

Dathe, T., Dathe, R., Dathe, I., & Helmold, M. (2022). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability and Environmental Social Governance (ESG): Approaches to Ethical Management. Springer International Publishing.

Del Baldo, M. (2013). Partnerships for CSR. In S. O. Idowu, N. Capaldi, L. Zu, & A. D. Gupta (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility (pp. 1824–1833). Springer.


Filipe Morais, Jenny Simnett, Andrew Kakabadse, Nada Kakabadse, & Andrew Myers. (2020). ESG in Small and Mid-Sized Quoted Companies: Perceptions, Myths and Realities. Quoted Companies Alliance.

Galan-Muros, V., & Davey, T. (2019). The UBC ecosystem: Putting together a comprehensive framework for university-business cooperation. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 44(4), 1311–1346.

Gawel, A. (2014). Business collaboration with universities as an example of corporate social responsibility—A review of case study collaboration methods. Economics and Business Review, 14(1).

Hess, D. (2017). Business, Corruption, and Human Rights: Towards a New Responsibility for Corporations to Combat Corruption. WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW, 4, 641–693.

Holme, R., & Watts, P. (2000). Corporate social responsibility: Making good business sense. World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Horisch, J., Johnson, M. P., & Schaltegger, S. (2015). Implementation of Sustainability Management and Company Size: A Knowledge-Based View. Business Strategy and the Environment, 24(8), 765–779.

Ko, W. W., & Liu, G. (2017). Environmental Strategy and Competitive Advantage: The Role of Small- and Medium-Sized enterprises’ Dynamic Capabilities. Business Strategy and the Environment, 26(5), 584–596.

Kolev, I. (2021) Towards a Metaphysics of Obligations, Ethical Studies, 6(2), 47-54.

Liang, Y., Lee, M. J., & Jung, J. S. (2022). Dynamic Capabilities and an ESG Strategy for Sustainable Management Performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.

Low, K. C. P., & Ang, S.-L. (2013). Altruistic CSR. In S. O. Idowu, N. Capaldi, L. Zu, & A. D. Gupta (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility (pp. 81–91). Springer.

Maaloul, A., Zéghal, D., Ben Amar, W., & Mansour, S. (2023). The Effect of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Performance and Disclosure on Cost of Debt: The Mediating Effect of Corporate Reputation. Corporate Reputation Review, 26(1), 1–18.

Morejon, S. M., PhD, CPA, CISA, CISSP, FSAI, Joseph Kenner, Alejandra Veltmann, José José Ignacio. (2022). ESG Integration and Small Business. The CPA Journal.

MSCI ESG Ratings Methodology: Product Safety & Quality Key Issue. (2023). MSCI Inc.

Nave, A., & Ferreira, J. (2019). Corporate social responsibility strategies: Past research and future challenges. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(4), 885–901.

Nega, Dr. F., & Diala-Nettles, Dr. I. (2018). Examining Financial Performance, Firm Size, Leverage and Corporate Social Responsibility. International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research, 07(02), 078–085.

Popkova, E., DeLo, P., & Sergi, B. S. (2021). Corporate Social Responsibility Amid Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Crisis: BRICS vs. OECD Countries. Research in International Business and Finance, 55, 101315.

Popoli, P. (2011). Linking CSR strategy and brand image: Different approaches in local and global markets. Marketing Theory, 11(4), 419–433.

Pratama, F. C., & Herman, R. T. (2022). Creating an environmentally responsible business: Evaluating, designing and prioritizing strategies. Journal of Innovation in Business and Economics, 6(02), Article 02.

Puriwat, W., & Tripopsakul, S. (2023). Sustainability Matters: Unravelling the Power of ESG in Fostering Brand Love and Loyalty across Generations and Product Involvements. Sustainability, 15(15), Article 15.

Rehman, Z. ur, Khan, A., & Rahman, A. (2020). Corporate social responsibility’s influence on firm risk and firm performance: The mediating role of firm reputation. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(6), 2991–3005.

Stefanova, Marina. (2022). Otchitane na ustoychivostta na predpriyatiyata. Ekologichni, sotsialni i upravlenski (ESG) aspekti na tyahnata deynost [Отчитане на устойчивостта на предприятията. Екологични, социални и управленски (ESG) аспекти на тяхната дейност]. Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’.

Sulaiman, N. A., & Muhamad, R. (2020). CSR and Employee Empowerment: Scale Development and Validation. Academic Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 4(1), Article 1.

Thomas, A. E., & Bhaumik, A. (2023). Sustainability Practices and Firm Performance: Evidence from Listed Companies in India. International Journal of Professional Business Review, 8(10), e03606–e03606.

UN Global Compact. (2004). Who cares wins: Connecting financial markets to a changing world.

United Nations. (2011). Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Vanham, D., Leip, A., Galli, A., Kastner, T., Bruckner, M., Uwizeye, A., van Dijk, K., Ercin, E., Dalin, C., Brandão, M., Bastianoni, S., Fang, K., Leach, A., Chapagain, A., Van der Velde, M., Sala, S., Pant, R., Mancini, L., Monforti-Ferrario, F., … Hoekstra, A. Y. (2019). Environmental footprint family to address local to planetary sustainability and deliver on the SDGs. Science of The Total Environment, 693, 133642.

Wickert, C., Scherer, A. G., & Spence, L. J. (2016). Walking and Talking Corporate Social Responsibility: Implications of Firm Size and Organizational Cost. Journal of Management Studies, 53(7), 1169–1196.

Yi-Hui Ho & Chieh-Yu Lin. (2022). Preventing Corporate Corruption: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. International Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences, 2(1), 12–22.




How to Cite

Vutsova, A., Yalamov, T., & Arabadzhieva, M. (2024). Perception of Sustainability and Strategies of Bulgarian Companies. International Journal of Professional Business Review, 9(1), e04147.