Obstacles to Sustainability: Is Sustainability Doomed to Fail?

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Obstacles to Sustainability: Is Sustainability Doomed to Fail?
Ismael Bena - MBA, Management Consultant, Netherlands

A recent quote from Confino, J. (2013):

"Sustainability movement will fail unless it creates a compelling future vision.
We will only create prosperity within planetary boundaries if we start to really believe it is possible".

Confino and others argue that without a clear overall vision of the future, which we all are willing to pursue in our quest for sustainability, we will not be able to close the ranks and reach a mainstream audience to embrace it. In the absence of a descriptive future vision, we cannot craft the path to get there.

What would it take to craft such a vision and get the mainstream audience to align to this vision?
If paradigm shifts requires close to a century to become effective, how do we excel to meet fundamental CSR and sustainability objectives within a few decades?
Source: Confino, J., Guardian Professional, November 23rd, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles to Sustainability Movement
Leodegardo M. Pruna, Professor, Philippines
Any sustainability movement is bound to meet obstacles along the way. A vision and a transformational leader are two important forces which could drive the movement to overcome the resistance to change which the movement would strive to undertake to maintain its balance towards sustainability.

In Sustainability, the Business Case is more Important than the Vision
Love Lonnroth, Management Consultant, Sweden
In the corporate movements that have really gained traction in recent years like Lean, BPR, corporate branding, there is a perceived link to financial value (business case). I believe that there is good evidence from the research of Robert Eccles and others that Corporate Responsibility contributes to financial value but the link is complex and becomes even more complex by involving moral and political dimensions in the case for sustainability. The new framework for integrated reporting will hopefully be a milestone in linking sustainability to financial value.

Will New Methods for CSR Reporting Help?
Ismael Bena - MBA, Management Consultant, Netherlands
@Love Lonnroth: I generally concur with your remark, despite that the relation between sustainability and financial performance has been examined by the various academics the last decade, and that correlation could be indicated, this often has been the result of public relation tactics, in contrast to operational CSR integration (Epstein & Roy, 2003).
Frequently corporations only include environmental expenditure as part of their CSR and neglect to include health and social impact related aspects in their investment decisions. This illustrates an incomplete responsibility profile, hence making their corporate reports a poor indicator of their Corporate Responsibility commitment.
As you correctly pointed out, let's hope the enhanced reporting initiative will alter this behavior in favor of more accurate and complete corporate reports in regard to CSR.


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Ismael Bena - MBA
Management Consultant

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