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Today, climate change and sustainability issues are rising to the top of corporate agendas. Business is engaged; global trends and stakeholder demands have seen to that. Energy pricing and security, natural resource pressures, population growth, lifestyle changes, and consumer preferences are compelling companies to act. Even those who are following the global climate change debate from afar understand that their key stakeholders are already focused on these issues and the need to capitalize on them.  As a result, there is a new clarion call for executives: leverage sustainability as a strategic lens on business operations – to enhance processes, grow revenue, manage risk, strengthen reporting, optimize costs, and spur innovation.

Sustainability – A Performance Improvement Lens

Leading organizations are re-imagining and re-shaping their long-term competitive business strategies. They're moving away from a now-outmoded view of sustainability as a compliance or reporting risk alone. The result: significant opportunities to achieve both short- and long-term value become apparent. Today, management teams are seeking to realize such potential benefits as: 

  • Revenue growth 
    through the introduction of environmentally or socially responsible products and services; penetration of new consumer markets; and a stronger competitive position.
  • Cost optimization 
    through increased resource and operational efficiencies; rationalization of assets and suppliers; waste reduction; and the elimination of potential costs of noncompliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Enhanced risk management
    through improved transparency in identifying and managing operational events and risks; the development of appropriate and effective responses to regulatory changes; and protection of brand value.

While climate change and sustainability issues and reporting are hot topics – the long-term issues are clear: soaring energy prices, increasing energy security risks, an exploding global population, and a scarcity of raw materials. Businesses are increasingly recognizing and addressing the impacts these issues will bring. In fact, the more forward-thinking enterprises see these trends not as threats at all, but opportunities for process improvement, cost-optimization, innovation and growth – all of which can help to respond to increasing consumer demand and generate a competitive business edge.

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