The Sustainable Business

Generating environmental and socioeconomic outcomes is essential to becoming a sustainable business, but it’s not enough. Mainstream business sustainability practices are proving insufficient for meeting global goals, especially as we face the triple threat of COVID-19, conflict and climate change. A business is truly sustainable only when it makes an effective contribution to sustainable development.…

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A Different Mindset

Transitioning an established business toward sustainability requires, first and foremost, a transformation in how the governance team thinks. They must oversee their own paradigmatic shift from a 20th century mindset of ‘building wealth for today and tomorrow by consuming resources today’ to a 21st century mindset of ‘addressing needs today and regenerating resources in perpetuity’.…

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Changing Legal Purpose

Shareholder primacy still prevails in many directors’ minds, but it neither reflects where legal purpose discourse began a century ago nor indicates where it is heading as businesses adopt new practices. All firms are accountable to their owners, but sustainability-focused and mission-driven businesses serve the needs of many stakeholders and write this into their purpose.…

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Externalities and Internalisation

Corporate impacts are non transactional results that are absorbed by society and the environment, ie externalities. Stakeholders are scrutinising negative externalities and controversies, holding executives to account for poor decisions that ripple destructively into society and the environment. The best business response is to identify, acknowledge, target, measure, manage and disclose, ie internalise the externalities.…

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Inspirational Businesses

We don’t yet have many, if any, truly sustainable businesses, but there are hundreds of thousands of businesses that are at different stages on their own journey of transition. Sustainability-leading businesses are visionary in that they set themselves more challenging targets, try new solutions, develop workable practices and blaze a trail for others to follow.…

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Evolving Practices

Business sustainability practices have changed over the decades as trailblazers have tried new things and the mainstream has adopted their tried and tested strategies. The CSR approach of the late C20, which focused on philanthropy, grew into the corporate sustainability approach of the early C21, which focused on resource efficiency. Regeneration and transformation are next.…

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