This represents the third instalment of the Challenges report. Here, we present the top seven sustainability challenges as identified by our stakeholders.
Sustainability Inside and Out
This represents the third instalment of the Challenges report. Seven issues have been identified by our Leadership Council: a council of managers from leading organizations across major sectors of the economy.
The purpose of this report is to inspire new research in these issues. Armed with this knowledge, researchers, managers and others can collaborate to innovate new solutions.
The 2010 challenges explore the boundaries of sustainability within the firm, and beyond.
Top 7 Sustainability Challenges in 2010
How can we incorporate sustainability into employee incentives?
What are the business risks associated with water shortage and quality?
What is the Aboriginal perspective on sustainability, and what are the best approaches to constructive engagement?
Are the concerns of NIMBY-ism (i.e., “not in my backyard”) borne out?
Answering Questions through Research
Every year, NBS funds research on several of the priorities identified by the Leadership Council. Each project systematically reviews and synthesizes the rigorous information from academic and practitioner sources on a given topic.
The priorities studied annually via systematic reviews form the foundation of our other NBS activity. Results of the research provide a solid foundation of knowledge upon which managers and researchers can build.
In 2010, NBS commissioned research on three of the 10 priorities.
#1: Measuring and Valuing Ecological Impacts
There is much debate about the measures that could or should be used to measure a firm’s ecological impacts. Much of the recent emphasis has been on the carbon footprint, such as through the Carbon Disclosure Project. But, there are numerous ambiguities, inconsistencies and inaccuracies with such measures. There needs to be greater understanding of the implications of each measure and the context to which each applies.
#2: Building a Culture of Sustainability
Sustainability initiatives are often embedded in the firm by a few key individuals, often in leadership positions. When these people leave, the firm’s sustainability initiatives begin to atrophy. However, in firms with strong sustainability cultures, the initiatives endure over time. The Network is funding a project to systematically review research that explores how sustainability is embedded within a corporation’s culture, so that it endures beyond the departure of key individuals.
#3: Promoting Sustainability through the Supply Chain
Supply chain sustainability involves responsibly purchasing inputs for the firm’s operations—from office supplies to raw materials for manufacturing. Ensuring the safety, security and sustainability of supply is key to organizations who are aiming to manage their risks and maintain their existing markets. Not only does this mean that businesses must choose their suppliers well, they also have to ensure that suppliers comply with the standards they claim to meet.
To access NBS challenges reports published over the years, view the knowledge priorities.