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Www.sobe.salford.ac.uk The Conflicts & Benefits of Introducing Sustainability into Business Practices The Business Language of Sustainability Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.sobe.salford.ac.uk The Conflicts & Benefits of Introducing Sustainability into Business Practices The Business Language of Sustainability Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Conflicts & Benefits of Introducing Sustainability into Business Practices The Business Language of Sustainability Professor Erik Bichard University of Salford

2 Three Languages One Sector The Language of the Responsible Reporter The Language of the Responsible Retailer The Local Dialect: Sustainability and the Employee

3 Corporate Sustainable Reporting Sustainability Reports not for everyone Very small pool of winners Very small pool of readers Language is specialised and refined

4 The Language of BT corporate social responsibility, reduced energy use, increased recycling, wind-farms,customers first, environmental footprint, inclusive society, sustainable economic growth, embed sustainability, employees flourish, transparency and accountability, responsible behaviour, climate change, CO2 emissions, low-carbon economy We use the term CSR more often than sustainable development or sustainability. We see CSR as the voluntary action a company takes to contribute to the wider societal goal of sustainable development. The three issues where BT has the most opportunities to make a difference and grow our business are: climate change, social inclusion and sustainable economic growth.

5 The Language of Shell Sustainable development, economically, environmentally and socially responsible, responsible energy system, climate change, security of [energy] supplies, environmental and social impacts, safety, biofuels, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel efficiency, responsible energy future. ‘For us, contributing to sustainable development means helping meet the world’s growing energy needs in economically, environmentally and socially responsible ways. In short, helping secure a responsible energy future’.

6 The Language of the Co-operative Group Ethics, Fairtrade, pesticides, energy consumption, sustainable energy sources, wind farm, climate change, ecotown, social and environmental issues, a more competitive and responsible business, responsible retailing, sustainability

7 The Language of the Co-operative Group Ecological sustainability ‘Nature cannot withstand a progressive build-up of waste derived from the Earth’s crust, nor can it withstand a progressive build-up of society’s waste, particularly substances that cannot degrade into harmless materials. In addition, the productive area of nature should not be diminished in terms of quality (diversity) or quantity (volume) and must be enabled to grow’. Social sustainability ‘guided by the long-established co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, and the pursuit of legislative compliance’.

8 The Effect of this Language on the Consumer Just 10% of consumers trust what companies say about climate change 20% are confused about conflicting or hard to decipher information 50% think it is the government’s job to remove unsustainable products form the shelves Some people are influenced to think companies are environmentally responsible because they have green packaging Enron and many of the banks that recently ran into difficulties were leading lights in the CSR world From various studies undertaken by Consumer International (2007) and PWC (2008)

9 What about the workers Employee engagements second to External relations Internal brand as important as external brand Just 18 of FSTE 100 CR reports mention employee communications (Futerra) Unusual methods including evoking emotion, arts-based approaches, and the power of nature a long way off, but could/should be the new language of sustainability Are things changing?

10 Denial

11 Confusion

12 Find out more from… Positively Responsible, Bichard, E. and Cooper, C.L., (2008) Butterworth- Heinemann


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