From: RICHARD MATTHEWS, Global Warming is Real, More from this Affiliate
Published October 26, 2012 06:18 AM

Survey Shows Business Community Moving Toward Sustainability

Initially, corporate sustainability was a tertiary practice that focused on reporting; increasingly, it is influencing core strategic business decisions. A proactive stance on sustainability is becoming a competitive necessity to attract investors, source talent, meet the requirements of supply chain partners, and address growing consumer demand. Companies are seeing the value of operating in ways that address environmental concerns, health and safety issues and operational risks. They increasingly understand that good product stewardship, responsible energy consumption, and low carbon practices are necessary components of a competitive business.


Although a sustainability strategy can be onerous, it is an increasingly essential aspect of a viable business. Engaging sustainability requires that companies are innovative and that they know consumers. Obviously, they must avoid greenwashing and they must tie sustainability to their core business. Some of the contemporary realities that are emerging around the issue of sustainability involve collaborative approaches and securing appropriate external certification.

Despite strong evidence, there are many who question whether sustainability and profits are mutually exclusive. The truth may be somewhat nuanced, but the evidence appears to indicate that sustainability does not preclude profits.

In the absence of sustainable development policy from national government, the business community is driving sustainability. According to 2012 survey released by GlobeScan and SustainAbility, more than 76 percent of sustainability experts think a major catastrophe will have to occur for national governments to take action on sustainable development. The poll surveyed 1,603 sustainability experts in 117 countries.

One of the more interesting findings in the survey indicated that respondents looked to the business community to work with governments to establish a regulatory environment. Forty-one percent said technology and innovation are the best ways the private sector can contribute to sustainable development.

A total of 80 percent of those who participated said that the current economic system will need to be radically transformed. However, almost 70 percent said that the absence of political will is the greatest obstacle to progress on sustainable development.

Global Recycle image via Shutterstock.

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