A Content Analysis of Sustainability Dimensions in Annual Reports Dissertation

(2014). A Content Analysis of Sustainability Dimensions in Annual Reports . 10.25148/etd.FI15032103

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Afjei, Feng


  • I proposed the study of two distinct aspects of Ten-Eleven Translocation 2 (TET2) protein for understanding specific functions in different body systems.

    In Part I, I characterized the molecular mechanisms of Tet2 in the hematological system. As the second member of Ten-Eleven Translocation protein family, TET2 is frequently mutated in leukemic patients. Previous studies have shown that the TET2 mutations frequently occur in 20% myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm (MDS/MPN), 10% T-cell lymphoma leukemia and 2% B-cell lymphoma leukemia. Genetic mouse models also display distinct phenotypes of various types of hematological malignancies. I performed 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells to determine whether the deletion of Tet2 can affect the abundance of 5hmC at myeloid, T-cell and B-cell specific gene transcription start sites, which ultimately result in various hematological malignancies. Subsequent Exome sequencing (Exome-Seq) showed that disease-specific genes are mutated in different types of tumors, which suggests that TET2 may protect the genome from being mutated. The direct interaction between TET2 and Mutator S Homolog 6 (MSH6) protein suggests TET2 is involved in DNA mismatch repair. Finally, in vivo mismatch repair studies show that the loss of Tet2 causes a mutator phenotype. Taken together, my data indicate that TET2 binds to MSH6 to protect genome integrity.

    In Part II, I intended to better understand the role of Tet2 in the nervous system. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine regulates epigenetic modification during neurodevelopment and aging. Thus, Tet2 may play a critical role in regulating adult neurogenesis. To examine the physiological significance of Tet2 in the nervous system, I first showed that the deletion of Tet2 reduces the 5hmC levels in neural stem cells. Mice lacking Tet2 show abnormal hippocampal neurogenesis along with 5hmC alternations at different gene promoters and corresponding gene expression downregulation. Through the luciferase reporter assay, two neural factors Neurogenic differentiation 1 (NeuroD1) and Glial fibrillary acidic protein (Gfap) were down-regulated in Tet2 knockout cells. My results suggest that Tet2 regulates neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation in adult brain.

  • This study examines the triple bottom line of sustainability, in the context of both profit-oriented and non-profit oriented organizations. Sustainability is a compound result of interaction between economic, environmental, and social dimensions. Sustainability cannot be achieved without balance between all three dimensions, which has implications for measuring sustainability and prioritizing goals. This study demonstrates a method for measuring organizational sustainability achievement in these three dimensions of sustainability.

    Content analysis of the annual reports of corporations from the United States, Continental Europe (and Scandinavia), and Asia reveals that the economic dimension remains the preeminent aspect, and corporations still have a long way to go to reach comprehensive sustainability by maintaining a balance between the three dimensions of sustainability. The analysis also shows a high level of isomorphism in the sustainability practices of corporations, suggesting that even the most sustainable corporations are taking a somewhat passive role in prioritizing sustainability goals.

    A list of 25 terms for each dimension of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social) has been developed which can be used by corporations to develop and communicate their sustainability practices most effectively to the maximum number of their stakeholders. In contrast, botanical gardens demonstrate more balance among the three dimensions of sustainability.

publication date

  • December 3, 2014


  • 5hmC
  • Business ethics
  • Content analysis
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Epigenetics
  • GRI
  • Sustainability
  • TET2
  • hematological malignancies
  • nervous system

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)