I would define sustainability in the business sense as what is good for a company is also good for the earth. It is aligning a company’s interests with those of the earth and the environment. Being a sustainable company involves thinking long-term about the consequences of its actions now. Sustainable companies today are rated based on waste productivity, leadership diversity, CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio, employee turnover, and other factors. These qualifications are used to pick the Global 100- a list of the world’s most sustainable companies. This year, the number one company is umicore, a Belgian multinational materials technology group. The company was chosen because of many sustainable measures they have recently taken like squeezing “more revenue out of each resource input (including energy and water), while generating less externalities (greenhouse gas emissions and waste).” Other notable companies like Statoil (3rd) are recognized for their employee turnover rate and gender diversity on its senior management team. Clearly sustainability measures not only environmental factors but also core business practices.

This supports the idea that there is a merger between being sustainable and capitalistic. The Forbes article linked about states (about the top sustainable companies), “For whatever reason, the best companies in these countries have superior disclosure, better performance against same industry peers, and better performance improvement over time.” This shows how a company can be successful in terms of business performance and sustainability. I think that capitalism and sustainability are not at odds with one another similar to the idea that ethics and capitalism are not at odds with one another. It is possible to integrate the two, and the companies that are doing so are paving the way for what I believe to be an era of innovative business practices that are profitable. Take my paper 2 company, Whole Foods; they are extremely successful (beating Wal-Mart in overall and comparable-store sales growth) and conscious of the environment and animal rights. If the companies focus on what is right for stakeholders and the environment, the profit will come.

3 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    So, what factors do cause antagonism between capitalism and earth?

  2. Jordi says:

    How did you find the list? Just curious.

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