Sustainable Business Practices

“For many organizations, it is still the norm to address areas such as environmental management, governance, human rights, and labor all relevant to sustainable business practices or CSRas separate issues stovepiped under different departments, rather than managing them as a cross-functional or synergistic sustainability bundle. Particularly for experienced environmental professionals in the United States, weaned on regulatory compliance for a generation, sustainability can be a difficult concept to grasp. Environmental sustainability can be seen as the evolution of industry practices such as pollution prevention, environmental stewardship, and design for environment, that aim to reduce pollution costs through process improvements. Thus, for many organizations, sustainability is limited to the environmental dimension, rather than the more robust triple bottom line conception of sustainability. Unfortunately, the implementation of an environmental management system, or participation in one or more voluntary programs, is often conflated with sustainability. Such strategic environmental management efforts may indeed be laudable attempts to move beyond compliance, but should not be equated with sustainability.

Ira Feldman in “Business and Industry: Transitioning to Sustainability”