Sustainability is not about "doing good" or "protecting the environment", says Adam Werbach, and corporations must integrate sustainability into their core business strategies (via SFS).
"Yes, it's important to reduce waste and toxins in a company to protect our diminishing natural resources", says Werbach.
Still, "an environmental strategy is not enough to sustain most businesses for the long haul", says Werbach, and "too often, a 'sustainability strategy' is simply an environmental strategy with a new name."
Instead, Werbach urges business to focus on a "strategy for sustainability", and underscores the difference with three telltales. A company has a strategy for sustainability when it:
- examines the coming opportunities and threats caused by changes in society, technology and natural and human resources
- sets an optimistic and aspirational North Star goal that connects to the core of the business, solves a great human challenge, and is actionable by everyone in the company
- applies the tools of transparency, engagement and networks to its organization.
Werbach says "I take great pains to encourage people to adopt a broader view of sustainability", noting that "sustainability has four co-equal pillars...social, economic, environmental and cultural."