Policy update

10th September 2014


Understanding sustainability

Members of IEMA and GACSO are working on building a shared understanding of the challenge of sustainability.

This work started in June with a workshop and, in July, we produced our white paper, Defining corporate sustainability, setting out proposed directions for IEMA and GACSO in defining sustainability and also related key terms for our developing sustainability lexicon.

This process is an important exercise for IEMA and GACSO, helping us to engage members and to build common ground and understanding. Members are now contributing further through workshops in London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bristol and Liverpool, and can provide direct feedback and comment to [email protected].

Francis Sullivan, founder member of GACSO and deputy head of global corporate sustainability at HSBC, believes the engagement is a very positive move and wants more people to be involved. “An engagement process to build understanding around corporate sustainability is an excellent initiative for IEMA and GACSO,” he said.

“I would encourage anyone interested in corporate sustainability, from chief sustainability officers to human resource professionals, to read Defining corporate sustainability and to contribute their thoughts.

"The sustainability landscape needs focus and agreement – GACSO and IEMA are now well placed to catalyse this debate to provide clarity on the role sustainability professionals play in supporting long-term business success.”

Concepts identified and captured in the white paper (see gacso.org)include the importance of mega-trends, underpinning principles and sustainability as a transformative agenda.

The objective is not to restrict discussion or thinking on sustainability but to hear a diversity of views. Although definitions will vary with context, the process of developing a baseline lexicon is helping IEMA and GACSO members to build a shared understanding.

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