Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Six Emerging Trends in Corporate Sustainability

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Ernst & Young and GreenBiz have completed a survey of business executives looking at the development of Corporate Sustainability around the world. The report shows that there has been a clear rise in awareness; that employees are a core source driving sustainability actions; that reduction of costs is a core appeal and that return on investment in sustainability actions is required to be judged in the same way as other corporate investments. For me this poses a dichotomy of thinking - the environment was built up over millennia and our use of it has taken just a couple of centuries yet we judge sustainability actions at the same 'speed of delivery' criteria. That poses a challenge and is perhaps an unrealistic set of expectations.

The expectations are unrealistic because arguably past actions, many having excluded sustainability entirely, have acted to defer the total cost of action, seen now in the environmental challenges of shrinking fresh water availability and decreased land productivity and access.  Still there is much to like about what the survey suggests, particularly the increasing awareness of the importance not just in the 'planetary' sense but also in the highly pragmatic decision making benefits that can accrue through corporate sustainability initiatives.  I wonder if the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards will also reflect this increasing shft in thinking?  You can download a copy of the survey here


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