|Click for image credit.|
Today's post is on Chapter 24, Sustainable Business by Deborah Rigling Gallagher of Duke University. The chapter begins with some background on sustainable businesses. They all, in some way, focus on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. In other words, the businesses bring forward the ideas of environmental protection and human rights in their business activities. Gallagher notes that sustainable businesses have a much expanded view of stakeholders than businesses of the past. Instead of only looking at those to whom that want to see and those who are employed in the company as stakeholders, businesses now look more deeply on the impacts of their businesses on communities. They engage much more with organizations like local governments, non-government organizations, schools, and others to inform their decision making.
One of the main areas where sustainability initiatives have made huge differences in recent years is within the realm of supply chain management. Companies all over the world are looking at how decisions made within their procurement processes can help them achieve their sustainability goals. For example, companies may require suppliers to have particular social or ethical standards for workers or they may require suppliers to use less packaging or energy.
The chapter takes a look at one particular case study, Counter Culture Coffee. The case study reviews how the company worked with others to help them develop relationships that led to more sustainable purchasing decisions and to significantly reduced carbon. The chapter concludes with some lessons learned and challenges and barriers. As Gallagher notes, knowing customers and suppliers matters. By working closely with stakeholders and experts, the company was able to make key decisions that helps them become more sustainable.
Here are some class discussion questions when using this chapter for a unit on sustainable businesses.
1. How would you define a sustainable business?
2. Why is stakeholder communication so important for sustainability initiatives in businesses?
3. What is the Global Reporting Initiative and what do they measure?
4. What is ISO 14001?
5. What do the Sustainable Development Goals have to do with green businesses?
6. How have companies partnered with non-profit organizations to reach their sustainability goals?
7. Why do you think Counter Culture Coffee was so successful at achieving their sustainability goals?
8. Counter Culture Coffee managers noted that sustainability was "messy" in practice. What did they mean by that?
Previous Entries in This Series
Chapter 1: Sustainability Definitions, Historical Context, and Frameworks
Chapter 2. Sustainability and Natural Landscape Stewardship: A US Conservation Case Study
Chapter 3. Policy Design for Sustainability at Multiple Scales: The Case of Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia
Chapter 4. Sustainable Water Resources Management: Groundwater Depletion
Chapter 12. Urban Social Sustainability: The Case Study of Nottingham, UK