Don’t Confuse Sustainability with CSR
Ivey Business Journal
No challenge derails managers from the goal of sustainability more than trying to understand what it means for an organization to be sustainable. Some people think sustainability is all about environmental issues. Others see it in terms of the bottom line. Still others use the term synonymously with corporate social responsibility and shared value. This article explains why business sustainability is none of these things — rather, it is about time. Sustainability is about balancing resource usage and supplies over time and assuring intergenerational equity. There is no question that many CSR initiatives are effective at balancing competing demands made by shareholders and other stakeholders. To do this, however, many firms borrow resources and capital from the future, which can magnify the imbalance in the distribution of resources between the short and long term. Securing short-term success should never risk long-term survival. As this article states, business sustainability is the ability of firms to respond to their short-term needs without compromising their ability to meet future needs.
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