Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous: this U.S. military concept originally applied to international relations also increasingly describes the contemporary business landscape.
Many global risks such as large-scale voluntary migration, extreme weather events, terrorist attacks and data theft are rooted in the challenges of sustainable development, and business is taking on an increasingly prominent role in achieving development ambitions.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In response to growing awareness of the pressures that the planet and its people are under, organizations are being held to account for their contribution to sustainable development, and the ways they create value or degrade social and environmental resources. This means fulfilling the obligations associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR).
As defined by the International Organization for Standardization’s Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility (ISO 26000):
“Social responsibility is the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:
- Contributes to sustainable development, including the health and the welfare of society.
- Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders.
- Is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior.
- Is integrated throughout the organization and practiced in its relationships.”
Increased awareness of social responsibility
Stakeholders are becoming better informed about the challenges associated with sustainable development, and as a result, their expectations are more sustainability-oriented, requiring organizations to demonstrate transparent and ethical behavior.
Consumers, conscious of the potential for human rights abuses and environmental damage to occur along supply chains, are increasingly selective, and choose products with sustainability guarantees. Employees,...
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