Sustainability: Is Business Doing Enough? Part 1 – The debate begins!

Posted: July 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

Jo Daniels, ‘Business in the Community’, began the debate by agreeing that it is ok to profit from ‘Sustainability’ but also confessed that she felt that businesses were not doing enough.

She recalled how, over the last 30 years, the challenges that companies face in the CR space have become more complex and why companies now need to ensure that CR is deeply embedded into every element of their business.

One of the most important points she raised was that CSR and Sustainability should no longer be about ‘what businesses can’t do’. Yes it should ensure that it operates ethically, does not rely on slave labour and have far-reaching health and safety guidelines but it should also be about the positive. She commented that as well as pushing the agenda forward, the benefits ‘Sustainability’ offers will enable businesses to stand out in the market place.

Another key point raised by Jo was that CSR shouldn’t just be ‘the small department down the corridor’ – every department and every element of the business needs to consider CSR and that departments need to collaborate to ensure that CSR is pushed forward.

But it’s not just about the business functions, stated Jo. CEOs need to be driving this forward, in fact she claimed that it will take ‘brave leaders’ to ensure that it brings investors along on the journey to ensuring that businesses invest in pivotal CSR measures.

But closing up Jo was unsure whether or not existing CSR efforts ‘Cut the Mustard’. Looking at the way the population is growing and the resources that this growth will require, Jo claimed that businesses will continue to struggle unless they consider ‘Community Building’ and ‘more connected ways of living’. There needs to be a shift, claimed Jo, from product based businesses to service based offerings. For example, do we need to keep making CDs if we all consume digital content? We need to consider new ways of consuming such as ‘collaborative consumption’. Lots of food for thought.

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