The Economist magazine recently released a report entitled “Doing Good – – Business and the Sustainability Challenge.” They analyzed responses about corporate social responsibility – – put more succinctly, sustainability – – from 1200 execs and concluded that the picture is grim.
The opening of this interesting report states…”Being a good corporate citizen has never been so challenging. Companies have long been under public scrutiny for practices ranging from recruitment to workplace safety, from attitudes to overseas investment to environmental pollution. The emergence of climate change as a mainstream political issue, however, has served to drive home the breadth of ethical issues with which firms must now grapple. The business—and societal—implications of how companies address these are so far reaching that a new area of management practice has come into being to manage them, known by many as “corporate sustainability”.
I disagree that “being a good corporate citizen is challenging”, because we actually have a lot of data on how profitable it is to take care of your employees and the community around them; to eliminate waste (waste costs money) and protect the environment; and to build a profitable enterprise.
But my only real disagreement with this excellent survey and report is the spin on the facts. “Doing Good” goes on to say…”In all, less than one in three executives (29%) say their company has a coherent strategy that covers the whole business and its supply chain.” You mean nearly a third of global businesses actually DO have a coherent strategy that includes sustainability metrics for themselves AND their supply chain? That’s fabulous!
Clearly a significant number of businesses have already gone beyond doing what they can to make their business successful socially, environmentally, and financially – – all interlinked – – and are now influencing their suppliers. That’s a revolution that can’t be stopped and a cause for celebration, not fretting over the 71% who are playing catch-up and who are therefore at a growing competitive dis-advantage.
Read the entire report yourself (at www.eiu.com) – – there’s a lot of good sustainability information in there – – and ask yourself…”Am I in the 29% or the 71%?”