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.
Sustainability-Linked Bonds: A new way to finance COVID-19 stimulus
Sustainability-linked bonds can play a vital role for investors seeking to allocate capital toward COVID-19-related relief or recovery measures.
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
Private sector engagement will be essential to the success of the NAP process, whether through direct financing or active participation in adaptation actions. Governments can play a key role in enabling this private sector engagement by promoting a number of enabling factors.
Toolkit for Engaging the Private Sector in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)
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
Winnipeg, March 5, 2020 – A new toolkit launched today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) offers practical guidance and resources that will help Manitoba’s business community prepare for the effects of climate change.
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.
Parental Leave Policies in the Mining Sector
An in-depth look at international and national parental leave frameworks and policies across 12 countries.
New legal tool can help governments get food systems back on track
The IISD Model Contract Clauses for Responsible Investment in Agriculture offer agricultural investment negotiators, state lawyers, and policy-makers a series of user-friendly, customizable contract provisions to help them design responsible and effective agricultural investment contracts. Such contracts help supplement gaps in domestic laws, not replace them, to get food systems back on track.
The IISD Model Contract Clauses for Responsible Investment in Agriculture
Customizable legal provisions to help implement international best practices, principles, and guidance on responsible agricultural investment.
Can the cotton industry protect its workforce in a changing climate?
Cotton is ubiquitous in human lives, with approximately half of all textiles made of the material, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development. But the sector's sustainability issues stand to be exacerbated by increased risk to extreme heat, drought, floods and wildfires already being caused by climate change, Forum for the Future warned in a 2021 report. Besides cutting yields, it will also affect the well-being of those involved in the supply chain.
Relinquishment of Closed Mine Sites: Policy steps for governments
This report reviews the concept of mine site relinquishment, scans global practices, and discusses challenges, key considerations, and policy steps.
Integrating Sustainability Standards in South–South Trade Policies Can Improve Producers' Livelihoods in Developing Countries, New Report Shows
Trade between developing countries and regions—known as "South–South trade"—is growing rapidly. In the past couple of decades, its value has grown almost tenfold, from USD 600 billion in 1995 to USD 5.3 trillion in 2021. A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development explores how governments in developing countries are using voluntary sustainability standards in their trade policies to ensure this growth benefits small-scale producers, communities, and the environment.
Sustainability Initiatives Falling Short for Sugar Cane Farmers in Developing Countries
Sugar cane is considered one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in the world and provides livelihoods for more than 100 million people in 120 countries. But many sugar cane farmers in developing countries live in poverty—and initiatives aimed at supporting them are falling short of their potential. A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development explores recent market trends in the sugar cane sector, what these trends mean for producers in developing countries, and what voluntary sustainability standards, governments, and private sector actors can do to improve farmers' incomes.
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Standards and Value Chains
Voluntary sustainability standards contribute to biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, and gender equality.
Depending on how trade policy is designed and implemented, it can either advance or be a hindrance to sustainable, low-carbon development.
Government purchasing power should be leveraged towards buying the most sustainable goods, services, and works.