Sustainability is the endurance of a process or a system. It comprises of environmental, social and economic elements that help in meeting the current needs without tampering with the ability of the generation to come in meeting their needs. For example, sustainability can be social, economic or environmental. All these sustainability ensures social, environmental and economic protection of intergenerational demands while maintaining the current benefits (Aras & Crowther, 2012).
Sustainable business is an enterprise that has no or less negative influence on the local and global environment, society or economy. Sustainable business comprises of the principle of sustainability, business decisions, and commitment to environmental friendly practices (Sanders & Wood, 2015). Examples of sustainable business include environmental conservation through recycling of limited resources such fuel, and forests as a waste management technique. Re-using used products reduces wastages, maximizes profit and gives a business a competitive advantage over others.
Economic development implies a sustained effort of a community to enhance the local economy and the standard of living that adapts to the economic change. Economic development is important for economic growth in terms of job income, residents’ well-being, resources increase, and sustainable productivity increase per individual. This concept requires a long term engagement in the all the businesses.
The pillars of sustainable business are three: economic, social and environmental. These paradigms are significant in safeguarding the lives of citizens and business organizations. Economic sustainability enables efficient and fair resources distribution which; therefore, ensure a balanced and healthy ecosystem. Environmental pillar propagates initiatives such as renewable energy, organic farming, tree planting, and recycling among other waste management methods. Finally, social pillar ensures justice, poverty eradication, peace, ethical responsibilities and other measures that necessitate social equity. The three pillars are under the umbrella of sustainability and work entirely together to maximize benefit.
Consumers are significant in the business sustainability model since all businesses aim at their satisfaction. Currently, consumers alter their trends and habits for the benefits of the environment. Similarly, many employees find motivations and put greater effort while working for environmentally responsible industries. Many customers currently focus on service- and performance based, but not product-based economy. For example, most consumers consider buying decomposable products which would ensure environmental safety.
Government agencies from various nations join treaties to hold full responsibilities on matters concerning social, environmental and economic sustainability (Nafziger, 2006). The government agencies also place policies that govern all business operations. They control revenues, wages, and costs on business productions. In the current world regime, the governments ensure sustainable business by setting laws that bind businesses to sustainable development. However, the government agencies cannot control the business’ internal funds, innovation, and strategies that aim at sustainability. Therefore, it is the role of a manager and his team to ensure that the internal funds are properly controlled, and that the company strategizes on methods and new technology that ensure sustainability.
Question #2a ESSAY
There are three pillars of sustainability. They are environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Factors that drive these three elements are but not limited to struggle for resources, climatic changes, economic globalization, communication and connectivity. Population, technology and affluence; however, have been identified as the three main factors of ecosystem. The equation that determines the influence is known as IPAT equation (Daly, 2012). ‘I’ stands for ecosystem, ‘P’ (population), ‘A’ (affluence) and ‘T’ (technology). New technologies aid to modern innovations that are able to mitigate environmental factors such as pollution, deforestation, hazardous products and other environmentally harmful products. For example, use of coal technology can reduce environmental degradation. On the other hand, population determines the GDP of a country. Large populations compete for limited resources, which ultimately may lead to ecological imbalance and low GDP. Lastly, affluence determines the consumption habits. Both poor and rich population lifestyle affects ecological balance if not controlled. For instance, many vehicles in the streets emit lethal gases that in long run affect the climate and biosphere. The three drivers PAT, must be incorporated together to fit the sustainable business requirements.
Biosphere is an ecological system that comprises of all living things, their relationships and their connection to the elements of lithosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and atmosphere.
The major human activities that have impact on the environment include industrialization, farming, deforestation and settlement. For example, when new settlements come up, forest lands may be compromised to erect houses. On the other hand, industrialization has led to emission of substances that pollute the environment. Finally, farming activities that include excess fertilizer applications may degrade fertility. Due to the consequences of the mentioned activities, which as well forms a significant part of life, sustainable approaches should be implemented. For instance, good farming methods such as crop rotation, organic farming, et cetera will ensure sustainability.
Free market model of economy only allows for the production of goods that consumers demand, while dropping the goods not on demand. Secondly, this economic model adequately recompenses the successful risk takers, and allows for profit reinvestments to make more. Free market also gives variable choices to consumers on what to purchase. Finally, free market ensures resource sustainability since firms will want to produce efficiently to win a competitive advantage against other businesses. On the other hand, the drawbacks of free market economies include the following. First, since profit is the overriding element for firms, there is a possibility to try to reduce the cost of production as much as possible. Consequently, it may lead to employees’ exploitation and environmental recklessness. Secondly, since production of unprofitable services and goods may be rarely produced, rural societies may suffer the charge of post and transportations (Daly, 2012). Finally, particular goods may not be easy to sell; for example, defense weapons such as the nuclear artillery.
Utilitarianism means that actions are right when they promote full satisfaction for the greatest number. Once the products have fulfilled the necessary pleasure or good, they lose their values.
Question #3c ESSAY
Corporate responsibility (CR) is a business feature that addresses topics on business ethics, stakeholder management, as well as how businesses manage economic, social and environmental impacts. The concept incorporates these management elements into the business operations and strategies. CR improves business opportunities and risk management while ensuring a strong environmental and social sustainability.
On the other hand, regulatory compliance set by the government is often used to regulate business industry to ensure sustainability. However, these regulations are below the sustainable and responsible business standards. This is because these regulations are set without the consideration of the changes in the free market world. Therefore, the industries themselves should be allowed to manage their businesses to achieve a stronger sustainability.
Regulation and consumer demands cannot fully address sustainability because other factors such as environment, social, economic, and corporate responsibilities work together in addressing sustainability.
Regulatory capture is a government failure that is nurtured regulatory agency, which instead of acting for the public interest, advances their selfish political and commercial concerns for the benefits of the interest group assigned to take care of the industry. For example, the management of an industry may allocate for themselves huge sums of money at the cost of the junior employees and the general public. Regulatory capture may be prevalent factor due to consumer ignorance and this may call for consumer empowerment seminars.
Question #4c ESSAY
Moral responsibility is whereby an individual morally deserves reward, praise, punishment, or blame for an act which is as per a person’s moral obligation. It cannot merely be due to a regulatory compliance because they are individually-driven involuntarily. These obligations differ from one person to another and cannot be as a result of regulatory compliance.
Sustainable economy is the establishment of economies with the ability to hold its production indefinitely. The productions should be socially responsible and environmentally safe for the current and future generation’s uses.
Three challenges of sustainable economy include bringing together stakeholders at the right place and time, making difficult trade-offs, and building accountability for any action that might compromise sustainability.
Question #5c ESSAY
International finance is a financial economics widely concerned with macroeconomics and monetary interrelations between two or more nations. It is also referred to as international macroeconomics or monetary economics. Sustainability is achieved through the international finance by financing investments, mobilizing capital, and offering advisory services to governments and businesses (Aras & Crowther, 2012). Therefore, the international finance serve in sectors; for example, environmental management and social risks and impacts, ensures adequate working conditions, pollution prevention, resource efficiency, and community security, safety and health, among others.
Biomimicry is an innovation approach that pursues sustainable solution to human issues by mimicking the time tested strategies and patterns of nature (Lee & Thompson, 2011). For example, prairie ecosystem conducted food production whereby natural processes and system obviate the need of synthetic fertilizer or pesticides.
Sustainability can aid to a business competitive advantage when an organization combines all the pillars of sustainability in its production that ultimately give it a greater performance over others. A business outdoes others when it employs modern technologies to maintain an ecofriendly business setting that aim at sustainable resource uses. Proper sustainability measures ensure a profit returns advantage over other business organizations.
The following points support moving to a sustainable business model. First, it ensures eco-efficient environment, enhances business competitive advantage and brand, improves productivity at a reduced costs, improve investment and financial investments, carbon risk minimization and increase of recruitment and employee retention.
The following are expected to change to accommodate sustainable business due to traditional paradigm in business. These include volatile cost of input, consumer buying habits, prices, complexity in supply chain, population shifts, increasing epidemics and disasters, socio-economic tension and natural disasters, among others. Therefore, to avoid them, it calls for more sustainability approach.
Question #6e ESSAY
Cradle-to-cradle Model is a biomimetic technique that enables designs of systems and products (Nafziger, 2006). It supports that industries must enrich and protect the ecosystem and the nature’s metabolism for quality circulation of technical and organic nutrients. This is because this concept views resources as nutrients circulating in a safe and healthy metabolism. For example, environment must be protected and; therefore, halogens and heavy metals spillage such as lead and mercury must be reported immediately regardless of their concentrations to safeguard the health of an environment. An environment must be nurtured properly from cradle-to-grave as a living thing.
Aras, G., & Crowther, D. (2012). Business strategy and sustainability. Bingley, U.K: Emerald.
Daly, H. E. (2012). Beyond growth: The economics of sustainable development. Boston: Beacon Press. 3rd Edition
Lee, D., & Thompson, M. (2011). Biomimicry.
Nafziger, E. W. (2006). Economic development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sanders, N. R., & Wood, J. D. (2015). Foundations of sustainable business: Theory, function, and strategy.