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Sustainability and its Impact on the Corporate Agenda

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The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is pleased to support Accenture in releasing Sustainability and its Impact on the Corporate Agenda. Accenture is one of over 200 global corporations among our members who have identified the business benefits derived from sustainable development. This rigorously documented new work by Accenture adds very substantially to that body of knowledge.

It is my view that the need for responsible business engagement in the big issues of our time has never been more urgent. The current financial crisis is the result of short-term and unsustainable business models. Our experience is that industries that have put sustainability issues at the heart of their business strategy offer some valuable lessons for the financial sector. Different industries at different times have had to understand how sustainability issues such as constraints on carbon, water and ecosystems, or social impacts impact their profitability.

The companies in our membership are innovative and well managed partly because of their commitment to sustainable development.

They are also the front runners in understanding the business benefits derived from innovative energy and environmental approaches. This means they are focusing on action, rather than continuing to debate the science of climate change. The financial crisis means that we must now develop business models for growth driven by a low carbon economy.

It is also important to remember that the current global financial crisis will affect the people on low incomes most severely. The WBCSD business leaders in our membership also seek raise to awareness of the benefits of doing inclusive business in developing countries which represent valuable new markets.

This sustainability thought leadership is being released at a critical time for global business, a time when innovation, optimism and leadership courage are demanded by society at large. One of the defining mantras of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is to remind our stakeholders that business cannot succeed in societies that fail.

There is no future for a successful business if the societies that surround it are not working. The leading global businesses that are our members understand this. The companies that continue to demonstrate thoughtful responses to society’s needs, and are planning for a changing future, will be among those that will still be operating successfully many years from now.

It is in this light I commend this valuable new work to the reader.

Bjorn Stigson
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
January 2009

Andrew J. Hoffman
Anna M. Caffrey
Eric M. Lowitt
Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Publication Type
Full Citation
Lowitt, E., A. Hoffman, J. Walls and A. Caffrey (2009) Sustainability and its Impact on the Corporate Agenda. Boston, MA: Accenture LLP and Geneva, Switzerland: World Business Council for Sustainable Development.