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The idea and practice of corporate responsibility has becoming global. A common understanding is emerging around the world: a company's long-term financial success goes hand in hand with its record on social responsibility, environmental stewardship and corporate ethics.

However, the question remains whether this is a passing trend or one that will continue to reshape the profile of business. Several big trends indicate that corporate sustainability is here to stay:

1. Transparency - Already over 5,000 corporations disclose their ESG performance and reporting and disclosure will undoubtedly continue to grow, driven by ever-lower barriers to information access.

2. Trust - The ever-growing impact of business on society means that citizens and consumers expect corporate power to be exerted responsibly.

3. Community participation - Business is expected to do more in areas that used to be the exclusive domain of the public sector. Environmental issues are a good example of this blurred line. Natural resources are now recognised to be finite and under stress. Water and even air now come with price tags. Companies have to collaborate with scientists, civil society and public regulators.

4. Accessing new markets responsibly - With economic growth migrating southward and eastward, foreign direct investment is becoming more about building and gaining access to new markets and less about simply exploiting low-cost inputs. Overcoming barriers to growth, such as civil violence, uneducated workforce and unsustainable sources of energy, water, minerals and soil is now in the interest of business.

5. Initiatives to engage companies - Means for engaging in corporate sustainability are plentiful and growing. Initiatives, standards and consultancies are booming at national and global levels. The UN Global Compact, is engaging 8,000 companies in more than 145 countries on human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption.

The growing feeling is that for business, environmental, social and governance responsibilities are no longer add-ons. They are integral to success.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

(Source: The Guardian)