Sustainability is NOT spin in major corporations. It is about survival. Many large corporations have devoted significant financial and human resources to creating sustainable systems in those corporations.
It could be spin for certain industries but definitely NOT all. For the major chemical and petrochemical companies, product stewardship and sustainability is the path to survival for those companies. They need to re-invent how they develop their products, how they qualify the supply chain and what happens (the end fate) of their products. If you take a good hard look at consumer and commodity chemicals, you will find that many products are removing non-sustainable chemistries. And to be honest, this is not because someone in the corporate board room said that this was a good idea. Most realized it was the only way to go.
But this is not just for chemical/petrochem companies. Many consumer-facing companies have begun to see the future.
The EHS pro brings a fantastic ability to either help manage stewardship and sustainability programs in a company or show the organization where their internal and external facing risks are.
Why is that?
Well, for most of us, it should be a NO BRAINER. For the most part, practicing EHS or SHE pros have been doing risk management for a long time. It has been our job. But now companies see that we bring a lot more to the table. We can easily help to flush out all the internal and external risks because at least for me, my roles in the past have been to Anticipate, Recognize, Evaluate and Control Risks.
Guess I could say it ten different ways but it is a part of our DNA, it is who we are.
Notice that I also added Stewardship to the equation. Stewardship and Sustainability. They are intimately linked. Stewardship does look at the risks here and now and tries to look into the future somewhat. Sustainability is what I consider how business, government, NGOs and the public will perceive companies’ forward-thinking approaches to stay in front of the risk curves along with some marketing and outreach spins thrown in for good measure.
Organizations do think they need to toot their own horns sometime. And this is a good way to do it.…as long as there are real facts to back up the spin.