Sustainability is just another buzzword. All it really means is to use resources effectively such that we have the means to rebirth the process of producing something of value. People should always try to be more aware of how we can save resources such as not creating too much Waste and have a way to recycle old to make new.
@Backorder: Firstly, the direct effects of sustainability cannot be reflected in the profits, not at least in the short-term. It's hard to determine how much the company earned out of using renewable energy sources or making their business processes environmental friendly. Secondly, even if the company was sure of long-term benefits, given the intense competition these days, a lot of managers would prefer short-term savings in costs over long-term prospects.
@hwong: I agree with you on this that the government needs to step into this issue to regulate the corporations and make them take measures towards ensuring sustainability. One of the biggest downside of the free market economy is the damage to the environment by the companies, and as economic analysis points out, the government needs to intervene in the economy to control that.
I dont understand how sustainability can not be a priority. Or atleast pretty high on the list. I think, the problem is how we define the sustainability vis-a-vis the supply chain. If a supply chain manager figure out that a crucial link in the chain is not ' sustainable' and will fall apart in a couple years probably, he will be concerned. And if the danger is imminent or unpredictable, the concern should be greater still. The point is if any of your critical resources can be impacted in immediate future by sustainability issues, sustainability becomes your problem. Business will always attach only so much value to 'nice-to-have' concerns. But sustainability is not only nice to have, it can turn out to be an essential in a unpredictable fashion too!
To execute "sustainability", there must be some incentives provided by the government. Like other bloggers point out, it all comes down to whether investing "sustainability" project will have ROI. If not, then companies aren't going to do it. Hence government needs to step in here. Whether it be a tax credit or subsidy to motivate companies to enforce sustainabiliity strategies would require further economic analysis.
@Himanshu: You are right, companies did use the sustainability factor to promote their products and build up a good reputation in the minds of consumers. I guess consumers no longer fall for this and the companies have to do other acts in the way of Corporate Social Responsibility to build up a good image.
@TIOLUWA: I also had the same point while reading through the article that companies are not willing to invest their resources to achieve sustainability just because they don't see their profits getting higher by doing so. The problem with the issue is that unless all the companies take serious measures towards achieving sustainability, the gains cannot be seen. If only a couple of companies make efforts in this area, they would only lose out on their profits and not make any significant impact.
International organizations have been putting into place systems for limiting carbon emissions over the past few years. Once regulations and carbon trading are a part of doing business, this aspect of sustainability will become higher on the priority list.
It remains for the U.S., Afghanistan and Somalia to ratify the Kyoto agreements. That these countries can stave off mandates and trade-based incentives indefinitely may not be a good bet.
It appears that the issue of sustainability has not had any serious effect on profit for tech companies, that's why its not a priority, when it begins to have such effects, then it will be made a priority.
it all boils down to the profit and good PR for companies. It was quite attractive for companies to claim that their products were sustainable but i have not seen much advertisements of products specifically mentioning the term 'lower carbon footprint' or 'lower green house emission' etc recently. Even global warming is not much in the news now a day!
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