Chapter 1

Introduction to Business Sustainability and Accountability Reporting

In this chapter, we introduce the concept of business sustainability and corporate accountability, its importance, relevance, and its various components. The wave of financial scandals in the early 2000s, the 2007–2009 global financial crisis, and subsequent regulatory responses have galvanized considerable interest in business sustainability, corporate governance, ethical, and corporate accountability. Businesses and professional organizations worldwide have also responded by developing a business sustainability framework consisting of five overriding dimensions of economic, governance, social, ethical, and environmental (EGSEE) performance.
The most important and commonly accepted dimension of EGSEE is economic performance, which is the cornerstone of business sustainability. Organizations survive and produce sustainable performance when they continue to be profitable and produce enduring performance that creates shareholder value. However, EGSEE dimensions are not mutually exclusive, they supplement each other and trade-offs can occur between them. On one hand, organizations that are run ethically, governed effectively, and are socially and environmentally responsible are expected to maintain sustainable performance, create shareholder value, and gain public trust and investor confidence. On the other hand, more economically profitable and viable organizations are in a better position ...

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