The importance of sustainability now goes far beyond environmental issues, as the need to behave responsibly becomes a key aspect of strategy and operations, maintaining brand and reputation and seeking good growth. And that’s true irrespective of the sector in which a company operates.
Traditionally, ‘heavy’ industries like resources, utilities, transportation and manufacturing have attracted most scrutiny. But no company, no matter what it does, can now afford to take its eye off its environmental, economic, tax and social impact. If it does, non-governmental organisations, activists, social networks, the media and its customers will soon hold it to account. Its good name will be badly damaged and it could even lose its licence to operate.
What does this mean for your business?
It’s clear that behaving in a responsible way is imperative, both for individual organisations and the economies and societies in which they operate. That’s why many companies are working hand in hand with governments to tackle risks like climate change, secure the natural resources they need responsibly and promote ‘good growth’ that’s not only financially, socially and environmentally sustainable but also real, inclusive, responsible and lasting.
More and more companies are also changing the way they engage with their stakeholders, recognising that many customers now factor environmental, social, economic and corporate responsibility practices into their purchasing decisions. There’s a pressing need, particularly in emerging markets – where younger, more socially aware buyers tend to drive consumption patterns and dominate talent pools – for companies to offer products and services that are closely matched to local environmental and social needs and concerns.
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