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Unilever, as one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies (155 000+ employees and revenues >€50 billion per year), clearly understands the need for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). After all, they’re in constant contact with a significant percentage of the world’s consumers every single day.

While the subject of climate change gets a good deal of press and attention, and whether or not you believe the human race is responsible for it, it’s only part of the larger problems we’re facing with a burgeoning global population consuming more and more resources.

Look at the problems with landfill sites all over the world – we’re generating rubbish more quickly than we can dispose of it (and is burying it, with the toxic chemicals that leach out of much of the waste really the best solution?).

Look at the plastic in the oceans – the patch in the middle of the Pacific is estimated to contain some 80 000 tons alone – and how it’s impacting marine life and getting into our food chain, not to mention exacerbating the decline of fish stocks.

Look at the problem with disposing of old electronics, too. While some countries are exporting their waste to be stripped down and, hopefully, recycled to the extent it can be, there are still mountains of stuff that can’t be recycled building up.

And this is just a sample of the problems we’re causing.

Which is why, increasingly, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting by companies is being mandated. Initially, this is required of listed companies in many parts of the world, but the requirement is growing strongly, and countries are increasingly broadening the need for other, smaller companies to do the same.

It’s also why, in South Africa, every company with a Public Interest Score of 500+ points must have a Social & Ethics Committee reporting to the board, regardless of whether they are listed or not. And it’s easy for even smallish companies to get to this level of public interest, showing the importance of being good corporate citizens.

But, apart from any issues of legislation and morality, taking into account what is good for ALL your stakeholders (staff, customers, suppliers and community-at-large) just makes sound business sense.

After all, if your staff feel good about your business, they’re going to be happier and more productive. If your customers feel good, too, they will support your business more. If your suppliers feel good about it, they will work more closely with you. And if the community-at-large feels good about you, they will provide a rich potential source of ongoing customers for your business to thrive.

So, taking account of corporate social responsibility and building this into your corporate culture should not be seen as a chore, but a key part of your strategy – it really is good for business!

#BusinessFitness #Business #Board #CSR #Culture #ESG #Governance #Leadership #Risk #Strategy #QOTW

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