The importance of sustainability now goes far beyond environmental issues, as the need to behave responsibly becomes a key aspect of strategy and operations.
It’s not so long ago that sustainability was seen by most companies as little more than a peripheral ‘green’ issue. Often packaged as useful for reducing energy and waste disposal costs or supporting some worthy community causes, it was rarely seen as central to a company’s core business.
That view is changing, and rapidly. Companies from all sectors are having to confront and adapt to a range of disruptive forces including globalisation, increased urbanisation, intense competition for raw materials and natural resources and a revolution in technology that is challenging the business models of many sectors while forcing all companies to be more accountable to, and transparent with, all their stakeholders.
What does this mean for your business?
As a result, sustainability is moving from the corporate side-lines into the mainstream. Faced with a future of uncertain energy costs, looming regulation on carbon emissions, concerns about access to raw materials and the availability of natural resources like water, companies all over the world are waking up to the reality that environmental sustainability is a key consideration. At the same time those same companies are coming under greater scrutiny about their role in society. Fuelled by the explosion in online social networking, consumers, NGOs, the media and their own employees are holding companies to account about their treatment of workers, the sourcing and quality of their products and their corporate culture.
So how do you create a sustainable business, let alone monitor that it stays on track, and manage interventions to make improvement?
Editor in Chief, Global Marketing & Insights, PwC United States