Sustainability is an economic state where the demand placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations. Sustainable development is a broad concept that balances the need for economic growth with environmental protection and social equity. It is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.
Sustainable Development indicates development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising with the ability pf the future generations to meet their needs. World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) recognized that the achievement of sustainable development could not dimply be left to government regulators and policy makers. It recognized that industry has a significant role to play in it. While Corporates are drivers for economic development, they are required to be more proactive in balancing this with social equity and environmental protection. The Contribution of sustainable development to corporate sustainability is twofold. First, it helps set out the areas that comprises the companies should focus on: environmental, social and economic performance. Secondly, it provides a common societal goal for companies, governments and civil society to work towards ecological, social and economic sustainability.
Role of Business in Sustainable Development
Trade and industry being an integral part of human society has pivotal role to play in this direction. United nations has already indicated global compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with adopted principles. Corporate sustainability indicates new philosophy as an alternative to the traditional growth and profit maximization model, under which sustainable development comprising of environmental protection, social justice and equity and economic development are given more significant focus while recognizing simultaneous growth of corporate and profitability .As a good corporate citizen the companies are required to focus on the following key aspects:
- Absolute Value Creation for the Society
- Ethical Corporate Practices
- Worth of Earth through Environmental protection
- Equitable Business Practices
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Innovate new technology to achieve Eco-efficiency
- Creating market for all
- Switching over from stakeholders dialogue to holistic partnership
- Compliance of statutes
Sustainability is a merging mega trend and is a measure of good corporate governance. Over the years, environmental issues have steadily encroached on business capacity to create value for the customers, shareholders and other stakeholders. The rise of new world powers has intensified competition for natural resources especially oil and added a geopolitical dimension to sustainability.
Sustainability basically works on the principle of KYOSEI which indicated the principles of living and working together for common good. Leading Sustainability companies display high levels of competence in addressing global and industrial challenges in a variety of areas:
- Customer and Product
- Governance and the stakeholder
- Human Capital
The emergence of corporate sustainability from being a niche interest of environmentalist and pressure groups to one public. Concerned has in part stemmed from the realization that corporate governance and social and environmental performances are important elements of sustained financial profitability. So let’s keep the three P’s (PLANET, PEOPLE & PROFIT) in sequence to achieve the whelms of sustainability.