For businesses, sustainability is more than mere window dressing.
The growing demand for "green" and "sustainable" products has created major new markets in which sharp-eyed entrepreneurs are reaping rewards.
Formerly referred to as "Corporate Social Responsibility," the concept of responsible business is underpinned by the idea that corporations cannot act as isolated economic entities detached from broader society. Traditional views about competitiveness, survival, and profitability are being swept away.
Positive outcomes that can arise when businesses adopt sustainable and responsible practices include:
1. Company benefits:
- Improved financial performance
- Lower operating costs
- Enhanced brand image and reputation
- Increased sales and customer loyalty
- Greater productivity and quality
- Greater ability to attract and retain employees
- Reduced regulatory oversight
- Access to capital
- Workforce diversity
- Product safety and decreased liability.
2. Benefits to the community and the general public:
- Charitable contributions
- Employee volunteer programs
- Corporate involvement in community education, employment, and homelessness programs
- Product safety and quality.
3. Environmental benefits:
- Greater material recyclability
- Better product durability and functionality
- Greater use of renewable resources
- Integration of environmental management tools into business plans, including life-cycle assessment and costing, environmental management standards, and ecolabelling.
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Eight Ways the Private Sector Can Apply the Sustainable Development Goals
Cory Searcy looks at how companies can start implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in their business.
Paying For It: How governments can help the private sector overcome financial barriers to investing in adaptation
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This toolkit aims to help governments develop strategies for the effective engagement of private sector actors in the NAP process.
New Climate Action Toolkit Helps Manitoba Business Leaders Seize Opportunity and Mitigate Risk in a Changing Climate
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Sustainable by 2045: Three ways the mining industry can make it happen
On February 29, more than 150 leaders from the minerals industry—from governments, civil society and the private sector—came together to find solutions for sustainable development at the Sustainability Forum.
Doing More with Less: Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production
Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns has been one of the greatest global challenges over the past fifty years.
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How big companies can help to end hunger
So far, the private sector has been waiting and watching. Now we need visionary companies to step up and join us.
The Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: The Governance Challenge
Over-exploitation of natural resources harms the health of ecosystems and the livelihoods and wellbeing of people, but there are fair policy options.
Developing a Pathway for Universal Infrastructure Coverage
This discussion paper argues that, for developing countries in particular, structuring infrastructure as a business has many advantages over structuring infrastructure as a project.
The Evolution of Private Sector Action in Sustainable Development
The history of private sector engagement in sustainable development is rife with controversy—and some genuine transformation.
Confronting the Plastic Pollution Pandemic
Countries should carefully weigh the advantages and drawbacks of a proposed new global treaty on plastic pollution.
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