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Making Sustainability Work In The Business World

996 words - 4 pages

Protecting the environment has become an important issue in today’s society. There is no longer any doubt that businesses should consider their social responsibility and the impact of their activities on their stakeholders. In addition, firms are beginning to realize that corporate sustainability can prove to be a win win. There are multiple benefits of sustainability linked to costs, revenues, community relations, and more. The decision to strive for sustainability is obvious, but this process is easier said than done. Developing a sustainability strategy is difficult in itself, but the most challenging factor is the actual implementation. Marc J. Esptein, the author of Making ...view middle of the document...

In order to implement a successful sustainability strategy, Epstein encourages the use of The Corporate Sustainability Model. This framework aspires to improve the company in both sustainability and financial performance. This model identifies the leaders of corporate sustainability performance, the manager’s actions, and the results and outcomes of these actions on corporate environmental, social, and financial performance. The framework consists of four main sections. The first part of the framework is the inputs. Inputs influence both leaders’ decisions and the processes that the company uses to improve are sustainability. Inputs can be broken down into external context, internal context, business context and human and financial resources. The second part of the framework is the processes. After leaders have studied the inputs, they have the necessary information to develop the appropriate processes to improve sustainability. These processes include leadership, sustainability strategy, sustainability structure, and sustainability system, programs, and actions. These processes ultimately lead to sustainability performance (good or bad), and stakeholder reactions. These two outputs eventually affect long-term corporate financial performance, which is the final part of the framework. Throughout the framework, there is also a system of feedback loops. Feedback is an essential task that can contribute to constructively challenging and positively changing the strategy. One important thing to take in to account when implementing this framework is differences in businesses. When a company attempts to employ this model, it is critical that the framework is customized to the firm.
Successfully executing a corporate sustainability strategy is tremendously difficult. Cutting corners or taking shortcut is not an option, so commitment and determination are beneficial core values to have and portray. Luckily, companies have started to expand into this area, leaving valuable evidence. By examining the past, companies who are currently implementing corporate sustainability can research what helped companies succeed, and what drove companies to failure. Advances in IT can also help companies when converting to sustainability.
Sustainability performance starts with the commitment of senior executive officers. Top executives of the company should provide superior strategic guidance to ensure that the...

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