While there is no universally agreeable meaning of the term sustainability, there are many numerous opinions of what it entails and how it can be achieved in the society today. However, the thought of sustainability originated from the notion of sustainable development which came from World’s first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development (1992) defines sustainable development as any kind of “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Thus in a nutshell, sustainability encompasses a direction of thinking and living that calls for formulation of conscious decisions on how a firms actions impact the community, the environment and people around one and all over the world.
As Dexter asserts that, “never before in history of the world has the viability of much of the life on this planet under threat from humanity… ” and this calls for measures to be put in place to ensure that sustainability development is initiated. Owing to the position and roles that companies have in the society, the society is under expectation from companies to make sustainable development in addition to the company’s need for development of competitive advantages. This crucial role of companies to the initiation and establishment of sustainability is hinged on the role that companies play in the modern economic life. Dexter puts that “corporations are the fundamental cell for modern economic life” and thus play an inherent role in “transforming the earths resource’s into wealth”. This has motivated companies to forge ways and means of achieving sustainability both at environment and managerial level in order to ensure its growth, profitability and value to the society.
Sustainability and decision making
Sustainability in a company is manifested by the company’s inclusion of social and environmental concerns in the business operations as well as when interacting with its stakeholder’s. Sustainability is achieved through actions based on decisions that are adequate, economical, have less or no environmental impact and have ethical impact. Such a framework stipulated by sustainability forms a guide line for decision making process in a company that seek to promote effective decision making process within the firm.
With the above criterion in view, companies are focused in formulation of policies to meet them and thus ensure sustainability by creating and maintaining conducive environment and handle the company’s managerial roles to promote and achieve sustainable developments. Principles of sustainability offer a means of evaluating constraints as well as deciding on tradeoffs. In their article, Andrea and Marisa stated that a company’s methodology to sustainability entails the integration of numerous criterions for social, economic and environmental operations in decision-making processes.
Sustainability is justified ethically as there is growing demand for institutions to be managed through policies and guidelines that promote social cohesiveness in the society. Since, firms play a major role in employment and use of resources, it is prudent that they take a forefront in pursuit of sustainability that will warrant continuity and improvement of the corporation, it employees and the community at large.