Chapter 13. Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainability, long a mantra of environmentalists, has now firmly entered the vocabulary of the business world. Simply put, sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means that companies see the challenges of sustainability and realize that as a company, they have the responsibility to do something about that. CSR integrates social and environmental concerns into business operations and relationships with shareholders. Sometimes people refer to this concept as "corporate citizenship" or "corporate responsibility." All of these terms carry the same basic meaning: corporations must worry about more than bottom line profits. Now they must consider their environmental and social impact. This is often called "triple bottom line performance."

What's the triple bottom line? We're not going to abandon that first most popular bottom line (you know, the one about moolah), but now it's more complex. The triple bottom line includes three essential elements:

  • Profits

  • Environmental impact

  • Social impact

How is your company going to practice CSR? That's where corporate sustainability comes in. It's a management philosophy that meets present goals for profits and growth without jeopardizing the company's future — and that means operating in an environment with more stakeholders, more variables, and higher expectations.

As we discuss in this chapter, ...

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