Environmental challenges and their potential implications for corporate strategy are becoming increasingly important in the field of strategic management. Still, the strategic management literature deals with the concept of 'environment' in a rather abstract way. This paper aims at bridging the gap between (rather abstract) discussions of the concept of 'environment' in strategic management literature and the implications for corporate strategy provided by the challenges of the natural environment. We build on different theoretical perspectives, but most importantly on recent developments in systems theory. Thus, our paper contributes to the paradigm discussion in the strategic management field by making a fundamental differentiation between system and environment as a starting point. We reassess the well–known 'Brent Spar' case in order to illustrate our propositions.
Keywords: natural environment, systems theory, green strategy, polycentric systems, Brent Spar, strategic management, environmental strategy, corporate strategy