11 Challenges for Corporate Sustainability

by Aman Singh Das | February 03, 2011

  • My Vault

At a recent breakfast hosted by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and NYSE Euronext, the Conference Board's David Vidal asked an insightful question: What are the top three reasons for your company's reluctance to embrace sustainability—and to adopt sustainability reporting?

The responses that came from an audience representing the glitterati of the corporate social responsibility world might surprise.

Keep in mind that a majority of them (I'm almost tempted to say all) don't need another lecture on the business case for CSR or sustainability, are active advocates, and represent companies that--for a multitude of reasons--recognize the link to their bottom lines.

What these responses point to, however, is the continued sense of reluctance across senior leadership toward combining the social and environmental with corporate. The path to effective CSR isn't a linear process by any means and these responses should help those who continue to struggle with mental and ideological barriers within their companies.

Because knowing the challenge is half the battle.

As you go through these, make an elementary checklist. Which of these sound familiar? How did you tackle them? Do any seem/remain insurmountable in the current corporate reality of thrift and inflexibility? Share your perspectives by leaving a comment, emailing In Good Company, or connecting with me @VaultCSR.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order:

  1. Doubt
  2. Liabilities
  3. Denial
  4. Resources
  5. Causality
  6. Lack of Global Standards
  7. Benchmarking
  8. Lack of comparative credibility
  9. Uncertainty
  10. Fear of the unknown
  11. Fear of the known

Next: Executives from UPS, Marriott, Avon and Bloomberg dissect organizational challenges to the discussion—and reporting of—their social and environmental impact.

Filed Under: CSR

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