Business Responsibility and Sustainability Course, Essay Example

Introduction

During the course, I have gained an understanding of the leadership’ responsibility in setting policies, guidelines, missions and visions related to corporate and social responsibility. While taking into account the company’s responsibility towards employees,  shareholders and other stakeholders has been discussed for many years in business publications, sustainability is a more recent development of business management. However, after completing the course, I am convinced that all of today’s organizations need to implement strategies that tackle these two issues in order to maintain the company’s outside image, preserve growth and create competitive advantages.

Creating Value Through Sustainability

Elkington (1999) introduced the term “sustainability” into business. Since then, a win-win approach has been developed by Hart (1997). This included recommendations for organizations to improve their processes, productivity and reduce costs while creating long term values. The Sustainable Value Portfolio (Hart, 1997) concludes that any organization is able to check whether its policies and corporate strategies are creating value for the business and stakeholders today and tomorrow. I found the concept of implementing pollution prevention, product stewardship, clean technology and “base of the pyramid” concepts easy to implement in any business. I have also learned that there are three different aspects of sustainability; environmental quality, social equity and prosperity of the economy. (Soyka, 2012, p. 16.) It is important to know that the implementation of sustainability in the organization can benefit not only the stakeholders but increase the firm’s reputation, customer engagement and create long term assets at the same time.

Strategies to Implement Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The CSC/CG framework’s exploration through class has provided me with the relevant knowledge for implementing the principles in practice; organizational visions, missions and policies. The understanding of different levels of implementation from board responsibilities to change management and process improvement has been useful for me. I understand that the balance between processes like information, knowledge, leadership, competence need to be achieved and maintained through this implementation. I also learned that the main principles of implementation are to meet regulatory requirements, define the business’ direction and terms of corporate governance and responsibility and to deliver services based on process-based management while meeting stakeholders’ needs and setting objectives. Rosam and Peddle (2004, p. 24.) also provide a framework for creating policies addressing corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Measurements and Metrics and Triple Bottom Line Evaluation

Elkington (1994) introduced the term “triple bottom line” in the business field. The concept is based on the measurement of the company’s positive and negative environmental and social values. It is a measurement that provides a report on the company’s performance against different values along the social and environmental line. Elkington and his team states that  “The three primary value drivers, economic, environmental and social could be considered as “continental plates” that are not stable; but in constant flux, moving independently from each other due to social, political, economic and environmental pressures, cycles and conflicts.” (p. 4.)

In a recent report, Elkington (2004) has confirmed that the concept of the Triple Bottom Line is picking up, with companies taking social corporate responsibility and sustainability more seriously, implementing measures and policies in their governance. He also states that today there are seven different drivers are shifting towards a new paradigm: markets, values, transparency, life-cycle technologies, partnerships, time and corporate governance.

Conclusion

Overall, the ideas and theories of business practices and corporate responsibility have changed my views of organizational structures. I now understand that implementing CSR and sustainability in processes within organizations is essential for modern firms and creates long term values.

References

Hart, S. (1997) “Beyond Greening: Strategies for a sustainable world” Harvard Business Review. January-February; 66-76.

Elkington,  J. (1997)  “Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business”,  Capstone, 1997

Elkington, J. (2004)  “Enter the Triple Bottom Line” In: Henriques, A., Richardson, J. eds. The Triple Bottom Line, Does It All Add Up? Assessing the Sustainability of Business and      CSR

Soyka, PP. (2012) “Creating a Sustainable Organization: Approaches for Enhancing Corporate Value Through Sustainability” Google eBook.

Hayward, S. (2003) “The Triple Bottom Line” Forbes. Mar 17, 2003. Web.

Rosam, I., Peddle, R. (2004) “Implementing Effective Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance: A Guide” BSI British Standards Institution. Google eBook.