The future of sustainability

Dear readers of strategy blogs,

New Year brings a beautiful opportunity to thank you for reading and interacting with me on business strategy, innovation and sustainability. May the New Year open up new ways and new roads to success for you, fulfilling all your aspirations!

Thinking about the new year I am wondering what the future of sustainability looks like, since almost all countries in the world have agreed in Paris in December to become more sustainable, companies have a sustainability policy and socially responsible investing has become mainstream in the financial markets. When I am reading the newspapers and business- and scientific journals it looks like we are heading for a sustainability concept that is predominantly financialized and is defined in such a way that it can be monitored on a dashboard.

In the Netherlands the government has installed a formal temporary commission (Commissie Breed Welvaartsbegrip) to create a dashboard to measure prosperity. Investors are using predominantly dashboards as well to measure and monitor the specific risks and opportunities related to sustainability. Sustainability however is a far more complex phenomenon where we cannot only monitor statistics or calculate the financial performance of our investments in people and saving our nature.

The future of sustainability probably lies in another direction, where sustainability promotes change in line with its sustainable logic. This means that governments, entrepreneurs and investors should decide, based on their own values and purposes how to invest wisely regarding all the dimensions of economy, utility, financial, social, environmental, personal and other. This is a more ethical appraoch towards sustainability but also to finance and entrepreneurship, where  every investor should prioritize an extra-financial stake based on their own criteria in addition to the financial stake. Making these criteria and priorities more explicit will reintegrate finance back within ethics instead of ethics becoming a tool of financial constraint.

 

Norbert Bol

Literature

Nollet, J., Filis, G., & Mitrokostas, E. (2016). Corporate social responsibility and financial performance: A non-linear and disaggregated approach. Economic Modelling, 52, 400-407.

Revelli, C. (2015, article in press, corrected proof). Socially Responsible Investing (SRI): From Mainstream to Margin?. Research in International Business and Finance.

Photo credit: dpict.info via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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2 thoughts on “The future of sustainability

  1. I try to see a world where, large business houses carry on businesses in such a way to
    • Nurture other smaller business houses
    • Deliver maximum benefits to the customers in the short and long run
    • Extract minimum resources from the nature and deliver minimum harm to the nature
    • Nurture nature to the maximum in their own activity domains
    • Follow the laws of harmony in nature, not contrary to it
    • Measure growth by quality not quantity
    • Identify life including humans as valuable and to be respected
    • Deliver profits among shareholders most equably
    • Be drivers of human and earth resurrection in the short and long run.
    And still be profitable to carry on their business in this new wonderful way.
    Without any doubt great innovation would be needed, but the returns would have immeasurable continuing holistic value.

    Liked by 1 person

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