Purpose: The study’s goal is focused on determining a common set of sustainability-related issues and drivers relevant for business-makers, in order to be used as a framework in inter-organizational communications and thereby to reduce value perception dissonances on supplier–client business relationships. Design/methodology/approach: The study was methodologically based on a documentary review and different work sessions (interviews, workshop, and discussion) with a focus group composed of decision-makers in the water industry sector, of both the supplier and the client company. Findings: The study makes as main contributions a differentiation within the scope of ‘sustainability practices of global interest’ and ‘sustainability practices into business scope’ from the business-makers’ value perception, providing a set of SVD, allowing reduction of value dissonances in business relationships, shedding light on solutions' value creation capacity and at the same time enhancing inter-organizational communications. Research limitations/implications: The final set of sustainability-related issues (and drivers) presented aren’t exhaustive and are delimited by the particular scenario generated around Aqualogy’s business scope; therefore, it cannot be considered as a standard application mode. Practical implications: This study sheds light on the importance of aligning business expectations around sustainability, and create a value framework that can be useful for fully embedding sustainability into the portfolio, business models, marketing strategies, technologies, and manufacturing processes. This framework can also be useful for analyzing value dissonances on supplier–client relationships, identifying value gaps into business models. Originality/value: The empirical study provides detailed insight into how the key decision-makers understand and perceive the sustainability value concept in the mainstream business. The alignment of their value perception shows to companies which sustainability values are expected in business, and how business strategy must use them as value creation drivers.