About This Blog

A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


This is an article I prepared on Sustainability for the ASQ Knowledge Network.  Since it will evolve through editing, I thought I would use this forum to provide the "writer's cut".


A broad definition of sustainability incorporates three principal aspects—ecological, economic and social—and that the ecological aspect and social equity are primary; sustainability protects and enhances the environment and social equity.
A program or an activity is considered sustainable if it meets all of the following criteria:
·         Creates economic value.
·         Increases public wealth with proper mechanisms for its distribution.
·         Socially justified.
·         Environmentally sound.
·         Ethically conducted.
·         Conforms to all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.

Sustainability performance reporting addresses business and personnel practices, as well as the organization's environmental, social, and community impact. Integrated reporting supports effective and transparent communication with all stakeholders, and establishes accountability.  Business sustainability promotes stakeholder theory in protecting interests of all stakeholders, which implies that business organizations have obligations to a number of constituencies including shareholders, creditors, suppliers, customers, employees, government, environment, and society. 

The three overriding principles of business sustainability are: value creation, performance enhancement, and accountability assurance. Sustainability drives a bottom-line strategy to save costs, a top-line strategy to reach a new consumer base, and a talent strategy to get, keep, and develop employees, customers, and your community. Sustainability has four components:
·         Social
·         Economic
·         Environmental
·         Cultural

For example, Toyota focused instead on its Toyota Way:
·         Long-term thinking as a basis for management decisions,
·         Adding value to the organization by developing its people,
·         A process for problem-solving, and
·         Continuously solving root problems to drive organizational learning.

Management concepts like genji genbutsu (management by walking around and seeing for yourself); or kaizen (continuous improvement) have affected the management of companies worldwide.
Strategic planning must be much more dynamic in this future, with contingencies and, more importantly, organizational flexibility to react when the challenge occurs. This flexibility is core to a strategy for sustainability.  To summarize, the seven tenets of a strategy for sustainability that must be incorporated into strategic planning are:
1.       Natural resources will become increasingly scarce and expensive.
2.       Massive demographic change is occurring.
3.       People are the most important renewable resource.
4.       Cash flow matters more than quarterly earnings.
5.       Every organization’s operating environment will change as dramatically in the next three to five years as it has changed in the past five.
6.       A chaotic, external world requires internal cohesion and flexibility.
7.       Only the truly transparent will survive.

Globalization, technological advances and a move toward stakeholder theory of corporations have given impetus to the sustainability reporting movement. The overriding principles of sustainability are responsibility and accountability to all stakeholders and effective disclosures of sustainability performance to such stakeholders

The true measure of success for corporations should not only be determined by reported earnings, but their governance, social responsibility, ethical behavior, and environmental initiatives. Business sustainability education demands knowledge-based in business sustainability in order to:

·         Leave more resources for the next generation
·         Grow the enterprise continuously
·         Govern organizations effectively
·         Have an ethical and competent organization culture
·         Promote corporate social responsibility, customers' and employees' satisfaction and ethical workplaces
·         Preserve a green and lush environment
·         Protect our profit, planet, and people

Business sustainability and sustainability performance, reporting, and assurance requires sustainability performance disclosures. Best practices of sustainability initiatives and strategies should ensure organizational leaders effectively discharge their responsibilities and assume accountability for achieving sustainability performance.

Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto by  Adam Werbach
Harvard Business Press © 2009 (228 pages) Citation

Corporate Sustainability: Integrating Performance and Reporting
by  Ann M. Brockett and Zabihollah Rezaee
John Wiley & Sons © 2012 (316 pages) Citation

Sustainability: The Corporate Challenge of the 21st Century
by  Dexter Dunphy, Jodie Benveniste, Andrew Griffiths and Philip Sutton (eds)
Allen & Unwin © 2000 (298 pages) Citation


No comments:

Post a Comment