Implications for business
It has become a cliché that environmental problems are substantial, and that economic growth contributes to them. A common response is stricter environmental regulation, which often inhibits growth. The result can be a trade-off between a healthy environment on the one hand and healthy growth on the other. As a consequence, opportunities for business may be constrained
While business traditionally seeks precision and practicality as the basis for its planning efforts, sustainable development is a concept that is not amenable to simple and universal definition. It is fluid, and changes over time in response to increased information and society’s evolving priorities. The role of business in contributing to sustainable development remains indefinite. While all business enterprises can make a contribution towards its attainment, the ability to make a difference varies by sector and organization size.
Enhancing management systems
The concept of sustainable development needs to be incorporated into the policies and processes of a business if it is to follow sustainable development principles. This does not mean that new management methods need to be invented. Rather, it requires a new cultural orientation and extensive refinements to systems, practices and procedures. The two main areas of the management system that must be changed are those concerned with:
- A greater accountability to non-traditional stakeholders;
- Continuous improvement of reporting practices.