Overview: Corporate Citizenship

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MNW301G
Corporate citizenship
SU 1 – “Imagine”
SU 2 – Course overview
The four outcomes for this course are relatively simple and easy to grasp, they are: 1. Analyze the context of corporate citizenship (CONTEXT) 2. Develop a business case for corporate citizenship (WHY?) 3. Critically consider the conceptualization, implementation and evaluation of corporate citizenship programs (HOW?) 4. Analyze the profile of personal responsible leadership in corporate citizenship (LEADERSHIP) SU 3 – Sustainable development

IN this study unit we look to introduce and explain the idea of sustainable development. To start the example of Easter Island was used to illustrate the dangers of non-sustainable development. This is an important concept as it provides us with the “social” case for corporate citizenship. What is sustainable development?

Breaking this down us can define sustainability as,”The capacity for continuance in the long term”. We can then think of sustainable development as the processes by which humans move (or develop) towards sustainability. For this course however we can use Brundtland’s definition, which is: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'' For development to be sustainable it needs to meet the following four criteria: 1. contribute toward fulfilling needs that will lead to better quality of life 2. be as equitable as possible

3. respect ecological limits
4. build a foundation for future generations to meet their needs Brundtland’s idea is nice in a perfect world but is missing a lot of practical thinking. Two of the more conventional schools of thought are the triple bottom line and the “real” hierarchy of dependence, both of which can be illustrated as follows. Environment

Society
Finance
Finance
Society
Environment

Unfortunatly the triple bottom line is always going to consider the financial environment the most important. This means that the company tends to operate in the short term and not the long term which would then include the environment. As the financial environment is the only environment over which we actually have complete control the Forum for the Future defines sustainable development as follows: “Sustainable development is a dynamic process which enables all people to realize their potential and to improve their quality of life in ways which simultaneously protect and enhance the Earth's life support systems.” This definition looks at the benefits for people and ensures that the world’s resources are still viable. To understand the definition fully, one must understand that inaction also has consequences. It also looks at making changes at all levels, from the individual right up to the biggest corporations and governments.

All of the definitions above are fairly similar, with the only major differences coming from Brundtland. In essence they all say the same thing in that the present and future well being of all humans is actively pursued through sustainable development. A brief modern history of humanity: the emergence of sustainable development Why is sustainable development not part of what we do naturally? To answer this question we have to look at the world at a macro economic level at the end of world war two. At the end of world war two nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, this illustrates the madness that had taken place for the previous six years. After the destruction, the world entered an era of unprecedented development headed by various international institutions. By the late sixties and earlier seventies we found ourselves in a position we were consuming natural resources 30% quicker than they were being renewed. Ward and Dubos were the first to publish papers and books with regard to sustainable development and argued that we humans cannot simply immigrate to another planet if we mess this one up. There first book...
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