Corporate Sustainability

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Description of Corporate Sustainability. Explanation.




Definition Corporate Sustainability. Description.

Corporate Sustainability refers to the business approach by companies to consider not only economical needs in their strategies and practices, but also environmental and social needs. It is the opportunity for businesses to improve their profitability, competitiveness, and market share without compromising resources for future generations. Compare also Porter's Shared Value concept which goes one step further in this respect.

Public criticism, enabled by powerful mass media, has made some level of care for the environment and refraining from dubious accounting practices and from operating "sweatshops" in developing countries part of the strategy of even the most die-hard financially oriented firms.

Leading sustainability companies show high levels of competence in addressing global and industry challenges in a variety of areas:

  • Strategy. Integrating long-term economic, environmental and social aspects in their business strategies while maintaining global competitiveness and brand reputation.

  • Financial. Meeting shareholders' demands for sound financial returns, long-term economic growth, open communication and transparent financial accounting.

  • Customer & Product. Fostering loyalty by investing in customer relationship management and product and service innovation that focuses on technologies and systems, which use financial, natural and social resources in an efficient, effective and economic manner over the long-term.

  • Governance and Stakeholder. Setting the highest standards of corporate governance and stakeholder engagement, including corporate codes of conduct and public reporting.

  • Human Resources. Managing human resources to maintain workforce capabilities and employee satisfaction through best-in-class organizational learning and knowledge management practices and remuneration and benefit programs.

Donald A. Lubin and Daniel C. Esty recommend in HBR May 2010 to do 2 things simultaneously  to gain an advantage from the sustainability megatrend:

  1. Get the vision right
    • Stage 1: Do old things in new ways
    • Stage 2: Do new things in new ways
    • Stage 3: Transform core business
    • Stage 4: new business model creation and differentiation
  2. Get the execution right
    1. Elevate sustainability leadership  from departmental to C-level
    2. Update methods and models (Scenario Planning, business case analysis, trend spotting) to encompass environmental sustainability.
    3. Include green stakeholders (NGO representatives, academics, government officials) in strategy development
    4. Integrate management (integrate sustainability objectives into compensation models, performance reviews, etc)
    5. Change reporting and communication from ad hoc into sustainability scorecards that enable benchmarking, best practice comparisons

Corporate sustainability performance is an investable concept. This is crucial in driving interest and investments in sustainability to the mutual benefit of companies and investors. As this benefit circle strengthens, it will have a positive effect on the societies and economies of both the developed and developing world.

One of the critically important issues in sustainability is that of human overpopulation combined with human lifestyle. A number of studies have suggested that the current population of the Earth, already over six billion, is too many people for our planet to support sustainably at current material consumption levels. This challenge for sustainability is distributed unevenly. The ecological pressure of a US resident is said to be 13 times that of a resident of India and 52 times that of a Somalian resident.

Corporate Sustainability Special Interest Group

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Compare with: Corporate Transparency  |   Corporate Accountability  |  Corporate Responsibility  |  Intrinsic Stakeholder Commitment  |  Strategic Stakeholder Management  |  Triple Bottom Line  |  Shareholder Value Perspective  |  Stakeholder Value Perspective  |  Bottom of the Pyramid  |  Public Relations  |  Environmental Insurance  |  Whistle Blower  |  Cultural Dimensions  |  Strategic Intent  |  Ashridge Mission Model  |  Clarkson Principles  |  Moral Purpose  |  Seven Surprises  |  Spiral Dynamics

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