Making Sustainability Work Essay

1023 words - 5 pages

The last four chapters of Epstein’s book Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate Social, Environmental, and Economic Impacts, ties all of the previous chapters together. These chapters contain actions versus previously discussed concepts. Epstein concentrates on the actual implementation of a social, environmental, and economic impact measurement system, the improvement of corporate processed, products, and projects for corporate sustainability, external sustainability reporting and verification, and the benefits of sustainability for corporation and society
While performing an overall evaluation, the identification and measurement of benefits and costs from corporate sustainability activities is vital. Epstein starts by reintroducing the Corporate Sustainability Model discussed in Chapter 1. All four factors of the model (inputs, processes, outputs, and outcomes) connect in a chain of cause and effect. This means that each factor drives the performance of the next, making each factor important. Metrics can be developed in order to closely monitor these relationships by measuring sustainability inputs, sustainability processes, sustainability performance (outputs and outcomes), stakeholders’ reactions, and financial performance. Without the use of metrics, companies might waste resources on projects or miss out on wise investments. Another tool to evaluations includes engaging with company stakeholders. Through things like focus groups, opinion polls, formal progress meetings, the stakeholder network, and more. By using this data, companies can also begin to measure its reputation. Companies can determine their reputation by using reputation quotient, reputational capital, corporate personality scale, and reputational audits. Measuring risk can help to measure inputs and develop processes to ease any negative affect that taking a risk could have on the company. The eight stages for measuring social and political risk include calculating issue benefit, calculating risk costs including reputation, estimating probability, calculating expected value of each risk, calculating NPV of each risk, aggregating NPVs of social risk and political risk, and calculating expected value of ROI. Once metrics have been identified, a methodology for measuring environmental and social impacts is created by identifying the impact to be value and the affected group. Next, a choice of method(s) is made. In valuing externalities, surveys can be used to fully measure outputs and outcomes. While surveys are extremely helpful, they are costly and can also contain survey bias.
Once managers obtain information from measurement systems, they can utilize this data to improve their organization’s products and processes for superior sustainability performance. In order to improve performance, companies can follow these actions: organizational learning, life-cycle analysis, redesigning products and processes, rethinking markets,...

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