Business Ethics and Sustainability

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“… the people who will succeed fifteen years from now, the countries which will succeed, are those which are most based on a sustainable vision of the world. That is what we should be training people to do.” Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, 25th March 2003. (Cited Forum for the Future, 2004)

The above quotation is just one of many that tries to show the importance of sustainability in today’s business world. Beside all the challenges which have been emerged due to Globalization, considerable attentions have also been paid on addressing the impacts of business on different component of society.

Following the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, one concept in particular appears to have been widely promoted (though not unilaterally accepted) as the essential new conceptual frame for assessing not only business activities specifically, but industrial and social development more generally (Crane and Matten, 2010). Then Crane and Matten conclude that concept is sustainability.

Despite this widespread use, sustainability is a term that has been utilized and interpreted in substantially different ways (Dobson 1996). If we take a look at the academic papers or search the internet for this concept we realize that sustainability term is mostly accompanied by “development”.

Sustainable development is typically defined as ”development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development 1987).

With its [Sustainability’s] root in environmental management and analysis, for a long time sustainability as a concept was largely synonymous with environmental sustainability (Crane and Matten, 2010). More recently, though, the concept of sustainability has been broadened to include not only environmental considerations, but also economic and social
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