Sustainable Business Development

Topics: Sustainability, Triple bottom line, Corporate social responsibility Pages: 11 (2978 words) Published: November 19, 2013
SustainableBusiness
Development
AStudyonUSAandChinaforTripleBottomLineandSustainability

Authors:LisaHuynh,TullyLanter,NavaNoori,EmmaPanandJennyXu

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Contents
Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... 2 Sustainable Development in USA ................................................................................................. 3 Overview of Three US Companies ......................................................................................... 3 Sustainable Development in China .............................................................................................. 5 Government Initiatives & Practice.......................................................................................... 5 Corporate’s Initiatives & Practice ........................................................................................... 6 Apple and Nike in China......................................................................................................... 7 What Next? ..................................................................................................................................... 7

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Abstract
British author John Elkington coined the term “triple bottom line” in the late 1990s,1 in reference to the simultaneous priorities of financial, social, and environmental responsibility. The pursuit of a triple bottom line (TBL) strategy is now front and center in most discussions of corporations’ roles in society, which may reflect changing managerial attitudes, and certainly reflects customers’ priorities. Sustainability initiatives are also helping corporations realize numerous internal benefits, such as lower energy and waste expenses, minimized employee turnover, and even higher productivity.2 Consideration of both business-specific and broader human/environmental concerns reflects the underlying assumption of TBL- and sustainability-oriented practices: “Organizational management is specifically granted fiduciary responsibility over society’s economic resources, which consist of natural and human resources. Because of their privileged status, organizational management and the associated business professions play a central role in the long-term viability of a democratically governed society grounded in justice, equality, and trust.”3 And beyond doing good for its own sake and for long-term social benefits, public attention to business practices also ties shorter-term profitability to sustainability, as consumers grow ever more inclined to patronize conscientious businesses.

The United States and China are two of the world’s largest and most dynamic economics, and also represent the forefront of TBL strategies, albeit in unique ways which reflect tremendous cultural differences. This paper provides a brief synopsis of TBL projects and attitudes in both countries, paying special attention to the social and political context of sustainability in China, with which an American audience may be less familiar. We also draw specific TBL examples from companies such as Apple, Nike, and Chrysler, and go on to summarize key cultural factors which leaders must be attuned to when deciding which culture to launch a business in.

1

http://www.iisd.org/business/tools/principles_triple.asp
http://sustainabilityadvantage.com/2012/02/21/seven-business-case-benefits-of-a-triple-bottom-line-tenthanniversary-edition/ 3
http://www.recercat.net/bitstream/handle/2072/2223/UABDT062.pdf;jsessionid=46DC7B6B4EC4A54A6C61CE76EB742403.recercat1?sequence=1 (page 2) 2

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Sustainable Development in USA
A 2011 study found that 78% of Americans think companies should reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the same survey, 71% would buy from a competitor if their usual brand used young children in its factories, and the percentage that would...
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