Business and Strategy

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Raiders of the Lost Business Case

Has the long sought after business case for sustainability finally been discovered? Not only am I a 'corporate responsibility' professional, I am also a huge fan of Indiana Jones and while he gets to wear a cool hat to work and I don't, our paths do seem common and our predicaments familiar. In the last ten years, it has not been unheard of when providing a 'business case for sustainability' to senior executives, for a CR professional to be met with, at the very least, mild skepticism or, at the very worst, outright dismissal. It was during these times that we could best relate to Indiana: wandering through some dark, subterranean maze and finding a golden treasure placed ever so carefully on a pedestal; easy for us to see, but nearly impossible to seize – we knew we had a solid business case and it was obvious to us that it would be good for business, but it probably didn't contain the financial bottom line positives that would resonate with senior management concerned with shareholder demands. There were also times when, like Indiana, we thought we had not only found the 'holy grail' but were successful in removing it from it's hidden chamber and about to show it to the [...]

February 22nd, 2012|Business and Strategy|0 Comments

Does your company have a Culture of Sustainability?

More and more frequently we hear some terms being used in the corporate lexicon: Corporate Social Responsibility, CR, Sustainability; and just as frequently we hear about the environmental, social, and governance issues that are often associated with this terminology: GHG emissions, Human Rights, Ethics and Transparency, and on and on. The terminology is confusing and the issues are endless. It seems that many companies today are chasing all these terms and issues, checking off all the lists and attempting to properly report their activity in the hope that they will be able to proudly (and publicly) claim their sustainability title. They publish glossy reports that tout their initiatives, they proudly display their CR awards behind the receptionists' desk, they are members of all the right sustainability clubs, and 'engage' with all the right NGOs.  But does having all the right CR elements make a company sustainable? The short answer is yes … and no. A recent working paper by the Harvard Business School provides some very interesting conclusions. First, and perhaps most important to many executives, is that companies who have a strong focus on sustainability "significantly outperform" companies that do not have a strong focus on sustainability. This conclusion is listed as first because it is potentially the long [...]

January 27th, 2012|Business and Strategy|0 Comments