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Three reasons businesses must prioritize sustainability

From the health and safety of workforces to geopolitical stability, businesses have many compelling reasons to make sustainability a priority.

Climate change has been a point of discussion among politicians and the general public for years, but businesses outside of the manufacturing industry haven’t fully joined in the discussion.

It’s time for that to change.

As dire predictions related to climate change have become clearer, the impact long-term shifts in weather patterns will have on businesses of all kinds – and their ability to influence such an impact – have also become more apparent.

Climate change is a threat to national security

As reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a recent survey of almost 42,000 people in 38 countries conducted by The Pew Research Center found the percentage of respondents who believe climate change is a “major threat” has risen to from 54 percent to 61 percent in the four years since a similar study was undertaken.

In fact, respondents in 13 countries, mostly in Latin America and Africa, identified climate change as the top threat to their country.

If “national security” is thought of as the health, safety and welfare of all a country’s inhabitants, then it is the obligation of all corporate citizens to act thoughtfully and with respect, at the very least, to these conditions.

Climate change is a threat to business

In a global business climate, there really is no such thing as “far away.”

Climate change will imperil food supplies, the safety of major cities and the health and security of workforces. Among other things, that means the availability of raw materials, the integrity of supply chains and human productivity and innovation will be put at risk as well.

Given how interconnected modern organizations and economies are, there is no isolating oneself from any prospective fallout. An enterprise that remains silent and inactive on climate change is jeopardizing not only the collective future, but its own continued vitality as well.

Climate change threatens global stability

Climate change will manifest itself in parts of the world earlier and more drastically than others, making it a higher priority in the countries most likely to experience its negative impacts first. It’s reasonable to see how the governments of those countries could feel frustration or angst when others don’t seem to emphasize responding the climate change.

If societies are to work together and address the pressing issues that affect all members the global community, it’s important that priorities of all constituents be understood and recognized.

Companies are not governments, of course, but they are agents of change, growth and contribution – positions of great responsibility and potential. It is imperative that the duties of such a position be fulfilled.

Learn more

Our latest report, “Global 100 Greenhouse Gas Performance: New Pathways for Growth and Leadership 2017,” explores how sustainability can generate prosperity.

Our dedicated sustainability blog drives the conversation around human rights, environmentalism and representation in business. For up-to-date content from the site delivered direct to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter via the box in the lower right-hand corner of the blog’s homepage. Every two weeks, you’ll receive hand-picked content for when you don’t have time to visit the site.


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