Business has the capacity, innovation and duty to carve a new path toward sustainability, says Karl Ostrom, PhD, in his latest white paper titled New Challenges Reshaping Corporate Social Responsibility. The co-founder and co-executive director of the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability (NBIS) released his paper today at the 2014 GoGreen Seattle Conference.
“As usual, NBIS is pushing us all to the next level on our sustainability journeys with this new white paper,” said Toronto-based author and speaker Bob Willard of Sustainability Advantage. “Karl defines how companies can respond to the sustainability imperative and position themselves to thrive on a finite, crowded, resource-constrained, climate-destabilized planet. We urgently need new visionary benchmarks of environmentally and socially responsible business performance, and NBIS is helping to define them. Thanks, NBIS!”
Ostrom tells us in his paper that contemporary environmental and social crises represent both threats and opportunities for business. Existing systems for managing and scaling effective sustainability strategies being inadequate, he offers a new model and practical, achievable steps for companies to reassess and redirect their efforts to resolve the challenges we face today.
Business has both the capacity and the responsibility to lead the innovative efforts critical to preserving People, Planet and Profit, Ostrom argues. While business can’t do it alone, it is in a uniquely powerful position to change corporate and supply chain practices, and help shift consumer behavior and government policy.
As the leading source of innovation in our society, business can move and scale rapidly, and has a life-critical interest in protecting the natural resources and stable social systems upon which sustainable profit depends, Ostrom writes.
“In his paper, Karl provides a carefully crafted set of powerful recommendations to business executives to change the way they think about corporate and social responsibility, and lead our civilization through the bottleneck caused by our deeply diminished natural resource reserves,” said Dwight Collins, PhD, associate dean of the MBA program at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, and president of the Collins Educational Foundation. “He draws on important paradigms in CSR, ecological economics and earth science to demonstrate the critical urgency for moving beyond continuous improvement and taking his recommendations to heart, now.”
“Karl provides a cogent review of the CSR movement and what is needed now to take sustainable business practices to scale through the dynamics of capitalism and a collaborative market system that truly internalizes ecosystem costs and rewards social purpose,” said Cynthia Figge, COO and cofounder of CSRHub and partner and cofounder of EKOS International. “I’m grateful for the dedication and expertise of NBIS in outlining a step shift in sustainable progress.”
Notable Seattle companies working with NBIS on sustainability leadership initiatives include Pacific Market International, whose brands Stanley and Aladdin incorporate sustainable design and manufacturing principles, and McKinstry, a full-service design, build, operate, and maintain firm. McKinstry’s project with the University of Minnesota at Morris, helping it become the country’s first carbon-neutral university, is one of several case examples featured in Ostrom’s white paper.
The paper is being released today at the 2014 GoGreen Conference in Seattle and is available at www.nbis.org. Journalists interested in scheduling an interview with Ostrom may contact Katia Blackburn, NBIS communications strategist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-781-2265.
The Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability is the Pacific Northwest’s nonprofit dedicated to helping professionals and businesses drive profitable sustainability. Since its founding in 2003, NBIS has recognized the powerful capacity of business to build social, environmental and economic benefit through the way business is conducted. NBIS provides training, tools and resources vital to maximizing the Triple Bottom Line — People, Planet and Profit — including its regional initiatives By-Product Synergy Northwest and online Materials Innovation Exchange. NBIS consulting services bring proven management strategies to companies to advance their sustainability advantage in the marketplace.
Sponsors of the white paper are Collins Educational Foundation of San Francisco; Garvey Schubert Barer, the King Conservation District, McKinstry, NRG Insurance, Pacific Market International and PCC Natural Markets of Seattle; and Sustainability Advantage/Bob Willard of Toronto.
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