PROs and CONs of Sustainable Development: Which One Wins?

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PROs and CONs of Sustainable Development: Which One Wins?
Anneke Zwart, Moderator
Sustainable Development (SD) is often seen as something that can be harmful for an organization at first sight. There are several reasons for this (disadvantages of sustainable development).
1. Organizations that want to achieve SD are responsible not only for economic issues, but also toward society and the environment. In other words, organizations’ requirements increase by the additional social and environmental responsibilities. Many organizations find it difficult to deal with these additional requirements, at least on the short term.
2. Because privilege is being given to the society’s and stakeholders’ desires, the benefits to the direct shareholders decrease on the short term. As a result, such SD is seen as something that negatively affects an organization’s profits on the short term.

However, these threats in no way exceed the advantages of sustainable development, or the disadvantages of not adopting SD, according to Nejati, Shahbudin and Amran (2010) :
1. First of all, not caring for SD and thus for society and stakeholders will negatively affect your organizational image/brand, even in the long run.
2. Besides, adopting SD brings considerable opportunities and advantages to organizations. These benefits can range from enhanced operational effectiveness, risk management and brand image to improved access to physical, human and intellectual capital.
For above reasons, adopting sustainability creates competitive advantages that positively affect organizations even in the long run.
Source, Nejati, M., Shahbudin, A.S.B.M and Amran, A.B. (2010) “Sustainable Development: A Competitive Advantage or a Threat” Business Strategy Series Vol. 11 Iss. 2 pp. 84-89

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sustainable Development
cheryl yamazaki, Member
Totally agree Anneke.
When organizations understand the long term benefits, they embrace change at its core. The key is to engage internal stakeholders first so that all are on the same page working towards the common visions, missions and goals. They then become the organization's most valuable marketing tool where external stakeholders can more effectively be engaged in the ongoing change. This is the essential notion of the ripple effect of true and honest sustainable development that transcends the common notions of physical resource and time.
Unfortunately, this is also the part that is most difficult to measure quantitatively. However, over a period of time – often quite significant – bottom line improvements are achieved, where the human capital enhancements can be more effectively qualified.
As organizations embrace sustainable development changes and encourage their supply chain to join them, real 'sustainable' change across the world can and will be achieved.



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