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January: 2020 and the Decade of Enterprise Sustainability

Todd Moss, department chair and associate professor of entrepreneurship and the faculty director of the Sustainable Enterprise Partnership at Syracuse University, says companies face pressures from diverse stakeholder groups to improve enterprise sustainability.  “Of course, government pressures firms through regulations, although this seems to fluctuate based on current administration,” Moss says. “Investors—both institutional and individual—pressure firms through buy or sell recommendations and through voting proposals. Activists use social media and other communication technologies to create networks of individuals and organizations who thereafter apply pressure individually and through the media. Employees likewise pressure companies through internal grassroots efforts. Customers in B2B (business-to-business) relationships pressure their suppliers to improve sustainability through requiring additional reporting requirements or increasingly strict standards, such as documentation of water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

To respond to this pressure, Moss points to guidance from a 1999 Harvard Business Review article titled “A Roadmap for Natural Capitalism,” in which authors Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken suggest four interlinked business practices that improve a firm’s sustainability. “First, companies can improve their productivity of natural resources through rethinking design and improved technology,” Moss explains. “Second, they can shift to biologically inspired production models that eliminate the concept of waste. Third, they can move to a solutions-based business model in which firms provide services rather than sell products. And fourth, firms can reinvest in natural capital.”

Source: Connected World