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The Business Case for Environmental Sustainability

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


A corporation's main objective, and many would agree legal obligation, is to make money and maximize profits for its shareholders, but should more be asked or required of today's successful businesses? For an ever increasing segment of society, the answer without a doubt is "yes." The concept, commonly referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR), extends beyond compliance with legal mandates or even charitable donations and good deeds. CSR advocates believe a company has a clear duty of care to all stakeholders connected to or impacted by a company's operation.

A new article, The Business Case for Environmental Sustainability, published this week in the American Bar Association's Business Law Today, by E. Lynn Grayson and Gary P. Kjelleren, addresses these considerations. The article examines environmental sustainability and why it matters for business. The authors detail key environmental sustainability focus areas and outline a roadmap of essential considerations companies should incorporate into any environmental stewardship initiatives. Lastly, they conclude that there is a business case for environmental sustainability that will improve financial performance.

The authors conclude there is a business case for environmental sustainability in the context of corporate social responsibility. In closing, they note: "It appears a virtual certainty that environmental sustainability will increasingly move from voluntary to legally mandated initiatives including sustainability reporting requirements. The critical inquiry for business is no longer if, but how and when to launch a meaningful environmental sustainability program. There is a growing business case for environmental sustainability. It is an added bonus that addressing these business challenges not only will enhance financial performance over time, but is simply the right thing to do as well."