Once again, the authoritative Harvard Business Review weighs in on corporate sustainability with a commentary piece on the top trends of 2017 – with “big leaps both forward and backward” in the year just concluded. And there was some predictability, writes author Andrew Winston in his commentary, as he says he predicted: “…the context for sustainable business in 2017 may center on the competition between two stories, the election of Donald Trump and significant action on climate change…”
The stage was set in 1970 by Professor Milton Friedman, who wrote in a New York Times Magazine essay: The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. He famously said in conclusion: “here is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud."
Harvard Business Review is one of the most powerful of external influences for the corporate C-suite. Ideas, concepts and themes appearing in the pages (digital and print) of HBR create important initiatives in American companies. HBR editors are focusing these days on corporate sustainability in various dimensions.
The foundation for the significant progress made in so many spheres of society in the 20th Century was...Oil! The oil-producing nations of the world amassed great wealth with the marketing of oil and petroleum-derived products; those products enabled fantastic progress to be made in industry, government, agriculture, the consumer sector...throughout our modern society.
"Sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector" -- so writes Tara Donaldson in the November 5th feature story in the Sourcing Journal in covering the Textile Sustainability Conference in October. Seven major trends were discussed at the meeting of industry execs.
There is encouraging news as corporate executives, managers and a range of professionals get together to address the risks and opportunities inherent in sustainability matters that could affect a particular industry, sector or profession. And, how with collective industry effort these challenges might be addressed.
"The" voice of authority for many board members and C-suite executives is The Harvard Business Review. Sustainability pioneer and influential thought leader John Elkington in the current "HBR" talks about the practice of "issues framing" at the highest levels of the corporation, and suggests (to leaders) that to change our usual way of perceiving, prioritizing and investing time/effort/money, that "re-framing" for social change is the wave of the future.
The authoritative voice for many investors on the always expanding mutual fund universe is the Chicago-based Morningstar organization. The company tracks mutual fund's in- and outflows, performance, focus and other aspects of [mutual fund] activities.
The firm began adding ESG analysis to its legendary and comprehensive analytical work last year. About 200 mutual funds with ESG criteria were initially being monitored by Morningstar, with analysis provided by Sustainalytics. **