Friday, 02 September 2011 01:18

Companies missing the point on sustainability

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Seeing the benefits of introducing more sustainable operations seems to have eluded some businesses, with many companies yet to take significant action to introduce sustainability initiatives.


According to a new global report by Ovum, while some larger companies have taken great strides in the area of sustainability, most view it as drag on business results, rather than a vehicle for improving them.

Warren Wilson, Ovum analyst and author of the report, said the majority of companies are not taking significant action to manage their operations more sustainably 'because they fail to see the business benefits they could achieve by doing so.'

Wilson says that businesses are facing pressure from a growing list of groups to manage their operations more sustainably, and this is rapidly becoming a mandatory requirement, not an option. 'Around the globe, thousands of companies have heard the call and have responded with sustainability initiatives of various types. However, most have yet to take any significant action.

'We believe this reflects a failure to recognise some of the key arguments for adoption. These include business benefits such as simplifying regulatory compliance, cost reduction, streamlined business processes and making the company more attractive to customers, investors and the public.'

Ovum advises businesses to recognise that sustainability pressures will only grow, and to implement initiatives that will help them meet obligations and also deliver tangible business benefits, both financial and competitive.

And, Wilson says that the business case for managing companies more sustainably is strong because it can help companies improve their results even as they 'green' their operations. 'Businesses that move quickly can not only reap direct benefits, but also gain advantage over competitors.'

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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