Changing business landscape will end the ‘take, make, waste philosophy’

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 April 2010

Corporate governance expert Mervyn King has warned that the business landscape will vastly change in the coming years as companies will be expected to act in a way that sustainably benefits the community and the environment.

Industrial Revolution. In Europe nearly everyone began a new career in a factory

King, who is the first vice-president of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa, said recently that sustainability had become the moral and economic imperative of the 21st century.

Sustainability is about acting in a way that reduces one’s negative effect on the community and ensures one’s future, he said. King was speaking recently at the institute’s Sustainable Development Forum, in partnership with Standard Bank, on the difference business could make to the environment.

For business it means beginning to reverse the effects of the take, make, waste philosophy that has been so widely subscribed to since the start of the Industrial Revolution. “We have been charged with taking care of the earth, but few of us have.”

He said that a universal culture of greed without regard had resulted in parallel crises of the financial system, climate change, degradation of ecosystems, dwindling natural resources and a water crisis. “In 2050, Planet Inn will have around 9,5- billion inhabitants. This means business simply won’t be able to be conducted as usual,” King said. He said many companies did not realise the effect that climate change would have on them.

Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 were companies and 49 governments. “Politicians may make the laws, but it’s business who influences them and whose decisions have the largest impact on society.

“We have between two and five years to achieve consistency in integrated reporting across companies; otherwise we will soon be facing the ‘perfect storm’ of food shortages, water scarcity and insufficient energy,” King said.

Source: Business Day

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