The Business Case for Sustainability The Bottom Line

Certainly, the world is full of companies that appear to disdain the principles of sus-tainability. Indeed, in some countries, these companies seem to prosper over the short term. There is no question, however, that these companies hold the seed of their own demise. They are, themselves, not sustainable.

When companies do a superior job of managing their environmental, health and safety systems and addressing their social responsibility, they enjoy a range of competitive advantages over those that do not. By embracing sustainability, these companies avoid the risks inherent in unsustainable practices. They also operate more efficiently, are more productive, and are more likely to succeed in the market. Little wonder that they have higher long-term returns and more robust prospects than other companies.

The most obvious signs of this embrace of sustainability are the systems, business processes and programs that companies institute and support. For this "superstructure" to function successfully, however, it must be firmly rooted in core values and principles of business conduct that have been articulated by management and are lived by all employees. We have seen too many examples of corporate failures in the recent past where the systems and processes were in place, but values and ethical business practices were lacking. Values and business conduct are the foundation for sustainability and long-term business success.

8.9 ACHIEVING BUSINESS VALUE: THE INVESTMENT COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF INCLUDING ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ASPECTS IN VALUATIONS

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