Magazine article Business Credit

Sustainable Business Practices

Magazine article Business Credit

Sustainable Business Practices

Article excerpt

As global awareness and concern about the long-term health of the worlds environment increases, some stakeholders and business leaders have begun to call on the business community to play a major role in moving the global economy toward "sustainability." This concept arose from a 1987 report of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Report), which defines sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." The definition includes both environmental and social goals, recognizing that long-term environmental protection requires appropriate economic development, especially in developing countries.

Sustainability in the business context represents a progression beyond environmental regulatory compliance, eco-efficiency efforts such as energy efficiency and pollution prevention, and environmental risk management to a business model that gauges performance by a "triple bottom line". The "triple bottom line" adds environmental and social performance to traditional measures of economic performance. Companies attempting to create sustainable businesses are making fundamental changes not only in product design, production and distribution, but also in corporate philosophy and marketing strategies. Few companies are currently considered sustainable, and those that are tend to be small companies serving niche markets. A growing number of companies, however, are taking a leadership role in adopting some level of sustainable business practices as they move on a path towards sustainability.


The following list is not comprehensive. It is an illustrative group of the many nonprofit, public sector and/or academic resources working with the private sector in the area of sustainable business practices. The resources identified below have been included because they provide information or support that is relevant to companies, and they are national or international in scope.

Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES)

CERES is a coalition of 80 organizations including environmental groups; investors, advisors, and analysts representing over $300 billion in invested capital; and public interest and community groups. The organization has developed the CERES Principles, a 10-point code of environmental conduct that over 70 companies have endorsed. The Principles promote environmental responsibility and disclosure by companies, and represent one of the key external environmental standards for the private sector.

European Partners for the Environment

European Partners for the Environment brings together international, national and local public authorities; large and small companies; trade unions; and environmental and other NGOs to foster innovation, competitiveness and new green market opportunities.

Forum for the Future

Forum for the Future is a non-profit organization that works on sustainable development in partnership with leaders in business, government and education. Its philosophy is based on finding economic, social, technological and environmental solutions to build a more sustainable society. The Forum's Business Program works with 50 businesses from a cross-section of the business community, helping them navigate their way through the complexities of sustainable development through partnership, research, and advocacy.

Global Environmental Management Initiative

The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) is a non-profit organization of 40 leading companies dedicated to fostering environmental, health and safety excellence worldwide. Member companies share tools and information as a means of achieving environmental goals. Through the collaborative efforts of its members, GEMI also promotes a worldwide business ethic for environmental, health and safety management and sustainable development through example and leadership. …

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