Sustainability Cannot Just Be Put Aside during an Economic Downturn
Trapp, Roger, The Independent (London, England)
Those in favour of encouraging business to think more about its social and environmental impact - in short, to "go green" - have enough trouble winning converts when the going is good. When times are tougher - and, for all the optimism voiced in these pages in the past few months, they seem to be that now - the task can seem nigh on impossible.
Yet there is a growing belief that sustainability has become so vital to business that it can no longer be put aside when the economy is going through a bad patch only to be picked up again when things are looking a little rosier. Which is why - even with the markets in turmoil and the threat of imminent recession extremely real - during this Small Business Week a day is being devoted to sustainability and serious people are discussing the best way forward.
If this seems a little frivolous, it is perhaps worth remembering that this whole approach started back in the early 1990s, when - if the markets were experiencing nothing like the current crisis - Britain and other industrialised countries were also experiencing economic woes.
Then, as now, BT was in the vanguard. Indeed, Chris Tuppen, the telecommunications giant's chief sustainability officer, as the company's first environment manager, played a significant part in developing the corporate approach to environmental concerns through reporting on issues other than pure financials.
In the years since then, this activity and the thinking around it has become more refined so that many companies believe there is a strong business case for going green. Rather than seeing concerns about the environment as an added cost, they regard thinking environmentally as a way of reducing waste and hence of cutting costs.
Hitherto, such thinking has largely been the preserve of "big business". While many smaller businesses start with a desire to be environmentally and socially responsible, many others - typically those that have been in existence for some time - tend to see such concerns as another aspect of the "red tape" by which they feel their operations are …
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Publication information: Article title: Sustainability Cannot Just Be Put Aside during an Economic Downturn. Contributors: Trapp, Roger - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 14, 2008. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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