The paper "The Role of Sustainability in Business Viability" is a perfect example of business coursework. Businesses exist for the needs of the present generation as well as those of the future ones. Sustainability means that businesses, as well as other institutions, utilise resources in such a manner that does not compromise the ability for future generations to meet their needs. Such an approach ensures that businesses remain viable in their operations. Sustainability entails three basic aspects: environmental, social and economic. In meeting the expectations of the society, businesses seek to satisfy their relationships with employees, participate in local community initiatives and to get involved in social projects.
Corporations also play a key role in environmental conservation because they are the largest contributors to environmental degradation. By applying innovative solutions and initiatives, business corporations contribute to ensuring environmental sustainability and, in the process, assure their viability. Further, the primary role of business corporations is to operate profitably. By seeking initiatives that reduce costs, cut losses and increase profits, corporations enhance their own viability. This paper explores the role that social and corporate sustainability plays in ensuring the viability of business corporations.
The notion that the only way in which corporations can assure their viability is through creating a sustainable business and social environment is explored at length. An overview of how firms adapt to changes with regard to social and economic sustainability is given, followed by a brief examination of the link between the circular economic model and sustainability as defined in corporate social responsibility (CSR) frameworks of corporations. Corporate and social dimensions of sustainability The term sustainability emerged between the 1980s and 1990s as part of the concept of sustainable development that emerged in that period (Galea 2004, p.
34). The earlier focus on development had laid much emphasis on the importance of economic growth for both governments and corporations. Growth was seen as the main driver of development under the global development agenda. However, this model of development failed to solve the core social, economic and environmental problems of both corporations and governments. On the contrary, it created new ones. The problems of environmental degradation, deforestation, depletion of reserves of natural resources and social unrest resulting from widening income disparities created the realisation that economic growth does not necessarily equal to equitable distribution of resources.
Widespread social unrest led to the conclusion that unbridled economic growth, which had been the main focus of the global agenda for the last fifty years, was the main cause of social, environmental and economic destruction of resources, leading to many social consequences, particularly in developing countries (Galea 2004, p. 34). It is against this global backdrop that the word sustainable development was adopted at the expense of growth-driven development as it had been conceptualized earlier.
Leading international organisations later adopted the term sustainability to highlight the need to address emerging problems across national and regional borders that resulted from the need to ensure that the growing global population has access to basic needs like food, water and clothing. The need for social and corporate sustainability cannot be overemphasised. It is argued that over 80% of the global resources are controlled by a paltry 23% of the population in the world. In agreeing with this proposition, Schroyer and Golodik (2006, pp.
188-190) state that growth in the physical scale of the economy under the prevailing regime of economic globalisation has been the main cause of rampant depletion of resources, destruction of world vital and delicate ecosystems, increased the level of natural waste, obliteration of subsistence cultures in the world and unequal distribution of wealth and income in the world populations. Sustainability is, therefore, the answer to turning the economy around in order to foster economic growth without causing the harmful effects that have been discussed before.
Boeger, M; Murray, R & Charlote, V 2008, Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility: Corporations, Globalization and the Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham.
Dillard, J; Dujon, V & King, M C 2008, Understanding the Social Dimensions of Sustainability, Tylor and Francis Publishing, New York.
Dunphy, D, Griffiths, A & Benn S 2003, Organizational Change For Corporate Sustainability: A Guide For Leaders and Change Agents of the Future, Routledge, New York.
Ekins, P & Voituriez, T 2009, Trade, Globalization and Sustainability Impact Assessment: A Critical Look at Methods and Outcomes, Earthscan Publishers, London
ElMaraghy, H A 2012, Enabling manufacturing competitiveness and economic sustainability: proceedings of the 4th international conference on changeable, agile, reconfigurable and virtual production (carv2011), Montréal, Canada, 2-5 October 2011, Springer, New York.
Fisher, D C 2009, Corporate Sustainability Planning Assessment Guide: A Competitive Organizational Assessment, ASQ Quality Press, Milwaukee.
Galea, C 2004, Teaching Business Sustainability: From Theory to Practice, Green Leaf Publishing, New York.
Hawkins, D E 2006, Corporate Social Responsibility: Balancing Tomorrow's Sustainability and Today's profitability, Palgrave MacMillan, New York.
Marshall, N J 2007, Climate action, UNEP/Earthprint, New York.
Schroyer, T & Golodok, T 2006, Creating a Sustainable World: Past Experience/ Future Struggle, Apex Press.
United Nations Environmental Programme 2007, Climate Action, Sustainable Development International, New York.
Zu, L 2009, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Restructuring and Firm's Performance: Empirical Evidence From Chinese Enterprises, Springer – Verlag, Heidelberg.