Why businesses should invest in sustainability

Major oil companies faced environmental challenges in the fields where they operate, from the Amazon to West Africa, and internet providers continued to respond to intense public pressures to enhance privacy protections for their users.  Something is changing: Business leaders face as they seek to build sustainable business models.

Business sustainability is essential to the long-term prosperity of global companies. Leading global companies are developing sustainability principles. These serve to maximize their opportunities and to minimize the negative impact their core operations have on the environment, and the communities and economies in places where they operate.

In today’s context, business sustainability encompasses attention to such issues as climate change, corruption, rule of law, the empowerment of women, human rights, consumption and supply chain practices. In more concrete terms, companies are recognizing that tackling climate change means working towards goals of zero emissions, waste and discharge, using measures that can also reduce costs, minimize risks and increase resilience.

On a parallel track, they are addressing worker safety and other challenges in their manufacturing supply chains, enhancing internet privacy protections for their users and developing right-respecting security policies.

Sustainable companies also are promoting greater economic participation of women, and combating corruption by embedding rule of law principles in their operations and initiatives.

Companies which are interested in sustainability are lucky, because this week seven of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils have released a white paper that offers an integrated view of business sustainability and why it matters. It provides a foundation for corporate leaders who wish to develop and incorporate sustainability policies and practices.