Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Corporate Sustainability - Face-Saving Window Dressing?

Over the past decade, corporate sustainability has become a must-have for every international company, an essential part of their global branding platform.

Despite the billions invested in it, few companies' environmental talk is matched by their walk, as business tweeter Ramon Arratia argues in The Corporate Sustainability Beauty Contest on CSRWire.

Arratia argues that company CEO's are deluding themselves about their sustainability credentials:
A 2010 Accenture survey of global CEOs found that 81 percent thought sustainability issues were ‘fully embedded’ into the strategy and operations of their company. They really think that having a CSR team reporting to public affairs with a nicely designed 150k report with some cherry-picked case studies and a set of qualitative targets plus a few quantitative targets on quick wins is ‘fully embedded’!
He suggests a three point approach--focusing on the footprint of products rather than the image of companies.

It is a challenge to high-profile PR programmes like last week's announcement of The Global 100: World Leaders in Clean Capitalism (by Corporate Knights), which lists two oil companies in its top 5 and is (unsurprisingly) heavily weighted toward Western, wealthy north European countries.

One of the ironies of  growing "environmental awareness" is that--in terms of perceptions--saving the planet has become just another capitalist scam.

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