Sustainable development can be defined as the development that meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. This kind of development takes the impact on the environment with minimal environmental damage sustainable development among other environmental issues help in creating a democratic climate that leads to an environmentally friendly business.
In this paper, sustainability reporting will be viewed as meaningfully informing the public about corporate conduct. Non-financial reporting may fail businesses Worldwide if governments do not remedy the situation. Companies should language in producing non-financial reports to the society and community at large. Global reporting initiative should be adopted on a much wider basis in order to make future comparison easier and more meaningful.
In business context, sustainability refers to a progression beyond environmental regulatory compliance, coefficient efforts such as energy and pollution prevention and environmental risk management to a business model that gauges performance. This involves environmental and social performance to traditional measures of economic performance.
New forms of cooperation between business, government and society are required in economic growth and environmental protection since the two are totally linked. To improve the livelihoods of the poor, economic growth is essential in all parts of the world.
Although new technologies will be needed to permit growth, energy and other resources should be used efficiently to produce less pollution. In this case, we view
sustainability as a characteristic of a process that can be maintained at a given level indefinitely. The focus here is on providing the best output for both the natural and human environments.
As stated by the world business council for sustainable development, sustainable development is good for business and business is good for sustainable development. This means sustainable development and business are interwoven. There are a set of five sustainability principles and are articulated in a general fashion but can receive a specific operational meaning in relation to particular sectors of the economy, development issues, business strategies, initiatives taken by individuals or investment guidelines.
The sustainability principles given below are expressed in relation to the five fundamental domains: –
- The spiritual Domain – This domain lays foundation for a universal code of ethics. The several attitudinal orientations are as a result of this domain.
- The Domain of life – his basis for appropriate behavior is formed from this domain. The various behavior patterns displayed by human beings is a result of the domain of life.
- The material domain – The flow of materials and energy result from this domain.
- The social domain – This forms the basis for all the social interactions. In this case we are referring to al the human interactions.
- The Economic Domain – This domain provides the guideline for managing wealth.
The result of all the above-mentioned principles is a set of five core principles of which each has its own derived operational implications and polity. The main objective of establishing the concept of sustainability as an organizing principle is to ensure a well-functioning alignment between the economy, society and individuals. This alignment should represent a particular type of dynamic and balance interaction between the carrying capacity of an environment and a population. Therefore, for meaningful sustainability, this specific balance must be the focus.
The five domains underlying the principle interaction and co-define one another. Each of these embodies the whole general scheme in its own sphere. A state of sustainability, which appears difficult and distant goal, can be realized completely and spontaneously the principles are integrated. The market place is becoming more environmentally sophisticated. This is due to the ecological and social as well as economic sensibility of consumers can improve a company’s image and consequently increase the customer loyalty.
Companies such as Ben & Jerry’s and the Body Shop Sustainable business practices are a key part of there cooperate image. Corporate benefit most closely linked to sustainability is the brand image. Several leadership companies bring entirely new product lines to the market by applying sustainability principle to the design.
Companies need to publish sustainability reports in addition to environmental performance reports and traditional annual reports. These reports demonstrate the increased business values well as presenting companies efforts to integrate the environmental and social equity aspects of sustainability in their business practices. The sustainability reporting guidelines significantly improve the usefulness and quality of information reported by companies about their social, environmental and economic impacts and performance. To maximize the usefulness of global reporting initiatives (GRI) guidelines, report users, need to be engaged in the process of developing and refining these guidelines acts as instrument in enabling communication from companies to stakeholders about performance and accountability beyond just the financial reports.
A wide range of companies can use a wide range of methods. These methods are designed to encourage customers to provide feedback on an ongoing process.
The companies are the integral part of the society this implies that what goes on in the society should be reflected in what is produced. This can only be possible if the stakeholders are given a chance to participate in the day-to-day activities.
Although sustainable development has been viewed as a national or global goal, the nation of corporate sustainability should be explored and developed companies can boost their stock market valuations and lower their cost of capital through improved reporting of intellectual assets and value creation strategies.
It may be proposed that the entire board of a company including independent directors and also other officers plus the stakeholders take responsibility for the decisions. In certain cases they will personally liable and the cost of compliance may go up. Family owned businesses and other who have a substantial stake are bound to accommodate a large number of outside directors.
Cooperate reporting ensures a means for organization to communicate with stakeholders with diverse and increased needs. Through reporting, organizations have discovered that the process leads to the reduction in wastage. Environmental performance as part of the process of developing a sustainability report can lead to the discovery of inefficiencies in operations. This will open up opportunities to improve management systems.
Improved community support can be achieved by corporate reporting. Informing the local community about the effects being put in place to improve social and environmental performance and hence foster community support for a business does this. One-way of improving the corporate reporting is surveying local communities to know the kinds of issues they think are important. Active participation in local projects can also contribute towards good corporate citizen.
Customers should know about your efforts so as to improve the customer confidence. This will greatly improve the organization’s environment; social and economic performance while can lead to increased consumer confidence in the products and services. Corporate reporting is use by organizations to communicate voluntarily to their stakeholders on environmental, social and economic performance. The information should be reported in a fashion that responds to the gowning expectations of investors, customers, business partners and the wider community.
Corporate reporting is a relatively new approach to informing stakeholders about environmental performance. It exemplifies the growing trends globally and ensures transparent communication about the corporate impact. This will make the stakeholder feel as part and parcel of the organization. Some organizations are making efforts to make more use of the information provided by customer complaints. Introducing new systems to respond and monitor to complaints on a collective as well as and individual basis is doing this.
However, due to the nature of the method, many organizations receive few “formal” complaints and this makes it difficult to identify trends individual complaints
can be used through corporate reporting which may be used as a trigger for further research to properly diagnose the problem.
Organizations ought to make effective use of feed back from customers. The organizations need to obtain resources that can analyze the data collection so than the decisions made have a sound basis. The use of customer comment or suggestion schemes encourages informal feedback rather than formal complaints from customers. Suggestion boxes in offices or other facilities such as libraries and leisure centers ensures this customers may also be encouraged to compete the comment cards that request for information about their satisfaction with various aspects of the company.
The impact of information and communication technology (ICT) provides opportunities for customers to provide feedback via internet or by e-mail public sector organizations have a feedback section on their website and therefore customers can submit their comments electronically. Corporate reporting can therefore be greatly improved these facilities speeds up the analysis of the information.
It is important to identify and prioritize stakeholders’ interest in company report and material issues. The sustainability engaging stakeholders programme provides a unique membership forum for business to develop and drive best practice. Stakeholders and business investors therefore identify corporate sustainability reporting as a fundamental part of good business.
Meaningfully informing the public about corporate conduct imply being open and accountable in relation to what we do, why we do it and how well we perform over the coming year. There are basic reporting mechanisms we currently use at a corporate level to provide information to the public but the most accountable means is the daily contact.
Innovation is a core to creating a sustainable human society. For us to create a sustainable world, it is not enough for us to only focus on what we can currently do. Innovative technologies are discouraged, developed and marketed in an environment that consist of a variety of disturbing social and environmental trends throughout the world as well as destitution networks, supply chains and markets throughout the world.
The environmental and social trends include the widening gap between the rich and the poor, lack of access to real knowledge threatened ecosystems and social support systems and growing concerns about effects of globalization. Society is taking a more active role in determining what is acceptable integration of sustainability thinking into a business innovation process should not be seen as a negative or limiting factor in the creative process but as an opportunity to achieve the best outcome.
Sustainability thinking ensures that companies succeed because their products and services receive quick acceptance from society and environmental and societal problems are solved in the process. Although humans are innovators, current innovations are based on social, political and cultural conditions prevailing in the prospective market as well s problems and need of the society. Integrating sustainability and innovation is about the business and its management. The leader of the business should investigate how well the sustainability principle is being followed.
Contemporary discussion of human activities would be inadequate without inclusion of the contributions gained through application of scientific method in specific forms for the natural and social sciences. A valuable tool for both examining and understanding our place and utilization of natural phenomena for human purposes is science. Therefore, science, sustainable development and global society should be studied so that one acquires the ability to think both critically and creatively to understand connections among the social, political, natural science and social issues.
According to some economists, it is possible for the concepts of sustainable development and competitiveness to merge if enacted wisely. For instance, the benefits from the introduction of new crops may be sustained if the constraints to marketing the crops are not resolved. The economic sustainability may be risked if the end users continue to depend on heavily subsidized activities and inputs. Sustainability is relevant to development projects. To reduce the likelihood of development projects collapsing after completion development sustainability are necessary. More business leaders recognize that it is very expensive to ensure sustainable development. It is therefore important for companies to plan ahead and know where to invest for the future.
The involvement of key stakeholders in the formulation of medium and long-term policies needed for sustainability is vital in business. We relate most directly to what is happening where we live although many sustainability issues are global in scope.
In Canada for instance, eighty percent of the population is urban and therefore a shift to move sustainability must take place at this local level. A sustainable community can be defined as one in which the social economic and environmental systems provide a healthy productive and meaningful life for all community residents. This implies that the society environment and the economy exist within the society, and both the economy and society exist within the environment.
In addition to economic environmental and social health sustainable communities are about the participation of all elements of the society in decision-making processes. Sustainability must be community led and consensus based because the main issue is the will and not the expertise political psychological and bureaucratic barriers to change can only be overcome by a community based process. Corporate reporting can be improved by citizen led processes which must be complemented by government support because it is still only government that can ensure a smooth transition to sustainable development.
Reporting systems differ from one community to another. Some of these reporting systems involve sustainability issues. Communities must choose the most appropriate measures to use. Traditional community reporting systems measure changes in social economic and environmental progress as if they are independent of one another. However connection among these three areas help to access the degree to which the environment economy and society are interacting in a sustainable manner. The community reporting systems available will entirely depend on the number of communities engaged in reporting.
The need for systems to efficiently manage and report on the voluminous data associated with annual sustainability reports is growing and falls back to corporate sustainability initiatives. Reporting can only make a difference when it actually influences stakeholders and the management perception of what is important and possible. In this way their decision behavior and performance are greatly influenced.
In reporting on should be clear about his or her intended audience. This means one should consider the background or entry behavior of the audience. One should also work cooperatively with the audience(s) in identifying the information they require.
There are a lot of things one can report about the company. It is there important that one explains why the issues chosen to are relevant to and support the company’s overall direction and objectives so as to make a coherent and compelling presentation.
A concise description of who you are and what you do is extremely vital. There is need to identify major business line, countries of operation and activities. This information should be included at the beginning of the report to provide the reader with appropriates context. The scope of the report should be very clear in the report so that the readers (public) are told on what is included what is not included and why. The business line operations and activities the report covers should be stated. The public should also be told how the report addresses joint ventures mergers and acquisitions.
Environmental policies corporate codes of conduct, health and safely policies are key policy statements, which should be stated. These policies and commitments would provide the reader with an understanding of the company’s commitments and vision.
If the policies are not included in the report, the public should be directed to where the policy can be found. Specific performance targets should also be included in the report. Targets indicate the company’s willingness to be held accountable for its performance. These targets should be both quantitative and qualitative because they both have value. Subsequent reports will then be used to assess the level of achievement of these targets.
Performance trends should be presented in the report. This means reports should provide historical data on performance so that the public can identify trends over time. To make the reports more useful to the public, explanatory information should be included to help the reader understand why both key internal and external factors must be included. Bad news will be worsened unless the readers are reassured that the problems are understood and acknowledged. Stakeholders should be involved in the issues of identification and reporting processes so that the report is useful and credible to the target audience.
Straight forward statements, identification of managers responsible for sustainability development at the facility and cooperate levels and information on how compensation is tied to performance constitutes the commitments made in the report .The report needs to include enough information but some members of the public may the interested in ore detailed information on certain subjects. The corporate sustainability report should be seen as one part of the company’s overall reporting and communication strategy. The public should be therefore directed to other sources of specific information where relevant.
Any company can be successful and sustainable if and if only if it conserves and restores resources, honors and support those involved, adds value to the local economy and educates participants about the benefits of sustainability.
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