Sustainability, Ethics and Business Performance

Ted Nunez, Ph.D. Director, Ethics & Corporate Compliance at Kaplan EduNeering gave the presentation on this webinar. Compliance already has a lot on its plate, does sustainability also belong there?

These are my notes:

To start, what is corporate social responsibility? It depends on who’s asking. Different companies have different views and different needs. It’s not just about the environment.

Ted set out three meanings of sustainability:

1. Environmental sustainability
2. Sustainable business practice
3. Sustainability – synonymous with CSR (or CR)

The shift in sustainability is moving from a mere public relations ploy to a strategic position.

Ted pointed out that consumers drive demand and offered up a “Green Gauge” (from a IBM Global 2008 CEO Study):

  • True-blue greens – 30%
  • Greenback greens – 11%
  • Sprouts – 26%
  • Grousers – 15%
  • Apathetics – 18%

Another driver is reputation and brand. A Fortune Magazine study found that a company’s intangible assets account for 75% of a company’s total value.

Another driver is to attract and retain employees.  Ted offered up these four factors related to greater employee happiness:

  • Contributing to something bigger than ourselves
  • Experiencing “flow,” or full engagement, regularly
  • Expressing our gratitude to others
  • Being emotionally connected

Ted went on to espouse some principles of sustainable business performance:

  • Redesign Processes, Products and Facilities
  • Measure Environmental and Social Impacts
  • Build a Culture of Sustainability