9.17.2014

Sustainable Business 2.0

http://www.greenbiz.com/sites/default/files/inline/Unilever.JPGNice to see the business of sustainable business evolve over time.  And exciting to see where it's going.  This article in a recent Economist talks about a 2.0 wave that is emerging.  This version of sustainable business goes beyond energy efficiency and good PR and recognizes that the majority of a company's environmental footprint actually happens before and after - before, in the form of its suppliers, and after, in the form of its customers.

There's still a business case to be made for working with suppliers and customers, rather than just sticking with what you can control within your walls.  But this is a bigger stretch for profit-seeking firms, so I think it's going to take some time for business leaders to think in this way.  Here's hoping we keep moving in this direction, because that's what's really going to move the needle on this kind of stuff.  I leave you with this great quote which ends the Economist article:

The first wave of sustainability rewarded itself. The new wave will not do that. It is more akin to investing now to have a licence to operate in future, when consumers, lobbyists and regulators will be ever more demanding about the way firms behave. That does not mean the new wave will not reward its adopters. But it will boost their long-term competitive position, rather than their short-term profits. Unlike the rewards of the superficial first wave, those of deeper sustainability could take years to sink in.
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