Business organizations are now amongst the most dominant and powerful social entities on Earth and are essential in efforts towards sustainable socio-ecological systems. Corporate sustainability calls for companies to be managed in ways that help society to live within our Planetary Boundaries and a socially just space to prosper.
Sustainability oriented innovations (SOI) are realized ideas that improve environmental and/or social performance while simultaneously considering commercial viability. SOI concerns the efficient use of resource inputs, the creation of improved products and services, and the formation of new business models: all of which are aligned to traditional business principles.
The role for business in sustainable land management and landscape restoration. Healthy landscapes and water systems are the basis of our life.
The business-as-usual paradigm has relied on a linear economy in which companies have harvested and extracted materials, converted these raw materials into products which are sold to consumers who discard them when no longer desired. This so-called ‘take-make-waste’ model acts with disregard to the finiteness of our ecological systems. It assumes that the supply of natural resources and the capacity of the environment to absorb waste and pollution is endless.
Social entrepreneurship seeks to create new viable trading organizations that create value through addressing social problems. Social entrepreneurs view sustainability problems as market failures that can be addressed through innovative ways of combining resources. Social entrepreneurship has become a global phenomenon with new enterprises focused on solving a wide range of issues such as housing, conflict minerals, access to finance and access to natural resources.
Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), once stated that ‘Accountants will save the world’. Traditional accounting practices have long supported the current business-as-usual paradigm and business decisions which disregard the principles of sustainability. These practices have largely treated social and ecological costs (and benefits) as ‘externalities’ deemed unimportant to the value creation of the firm. The limitations of these accounting practices for firm performance and our social and ecological systems are now becoming ever more widely recognized and the field of sustainability accounting is gaining increasing momentum.