I read an interesting article in The Globe and Mail titled “Investing the Socially Responsible Way.” It interviewed Michael Jantzi, CEO of Sustainalytics, a Europe-based firm with whom he merged his own firm in 2009. My perspective on sustainable operations of an organization is that, in essence, reducing waste in all forms is just good business practice. For example, reducing energy consumption is both good for the environment but also goes straight to the bottom line.
Less visible, are issues such as human rights and whether a company can or should be held accountable for practices of its suppliers or in its own operations in parts of the world with less accountability and visibility of working conditions. Another example is the issue of weapons production. At what point should we as either investors or consumers care that a part of a company is producing what Sustainalytics calls “controversial weapons?”
I am not an expert in this area, but given the importance of profit-making enterprises in the running of the world, it seems vital that people engaged in business (especially those involved in business strategy and performance improvement) really work to get their minds around the environmental and social issues with which organizations at some point, whether they want to or not, will need to have both a strategy and a means of responding to or initiating changes in societal norms, laws, and expectations.
The Sustainalytics site is: