Corporate Social Responsibility for Sustainable Development

Corporate Social Responsibility for Sustainable Development

Introduction

There has been global discussion and campaigns on climate change, and like other countries, UK is now more conscious than before on its environmental responsibility. The approach to this issue has to strike the balance between the value to customers, enterprise’s stakeholders and their impacts on the environment (Brundtland, 1987). To align with this directive, both public, private and non-profits enterprises can take advantage of available frameworks to manage this transition and realize sustainable development as discussed below.

Triple Bottom Line (TBL) and The Five Capitals--TBL framework proposes three-bottom line that includes profit, people and planet by countering corporate bottom line concept that only focuses on profits. The understanding is that organizations should not only manage enterprises to improve financial profits, but adopt strategy that as well improve environment and people’s lives and that way they will realize sustainable development (Elkington, 2006). Consequently, the five capitals is a model of sustainable development that describes organizations meeting the current needs without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their needs. By addressing these five capitals; natural, human, social, manufactured and financial, entities will achieve profitability and sustainable even in future.

The Cradle to Cradle and Circular Economy

Cradle to cradle (C2C) is a strategy that has opened the corporate world to eliminate waste and create a circular economy. According to the pioneers of the framework William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart, the central initiative was to design products that will satisfy the needs of people and the environment. That way, the concept improves quality life as less harm is felt on the environment. Therefore C2C is generally designing products that have positive impact to both people and planet while remaining sustainable in the business.

On the hand, Circular Economy is a concept used by companies of reusing the waste of an enterprise as a resource to produce another one. Basically, organizations will use the waste to either make other products or create partnerships and earn complementary revenue from the waste produced.

Natural capitalism and Balanced Scorecard

Natural Capitalism framework is a concept that informs that services and goods out of nature have a value apart from its potential sale price on the market. And companies can direct its resources to address proper care for the environment and by doing this we are able to gain economical values out of it. The balanced scorecard is a strategic framework used by organizations aligns their day-to-day operations with their values and goals. The framework tracks both financial and non-financial measures that depict the performance as planned of if corrective measures are needed.

Construction Sector Subscribe to Circular Economy/Cradle & cradle

As clients demand greater efficiencies and high environmental standards from products, the construction industry is increasingly embarrassing sustainable development models. The sector by adopting economic models such as Circular Economy will enable to maintain value and utility of products, materials and components, while being cost-effective and being sustainable at the same time. Recycling is the key important element in circular economy, whereby waste becomes a valuable input because of its recyclability and close-loop processes characteristics. The longevity of products factor in this framework is important because such products if they outlive their useful life, its constituent parts can be used to make either a new product or entirely new item. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, (2015) argue that cradle to cradle concept has been developed from circular economy framework which envisages a greater reappraisal of finished product and its parts, as well as its after-use value.

In construction sector the impacts of the circular economy and C2C models are potentially significant. A new take on sustainability, renewables is Cradle to Cradle design and has been defined by McDonough Braungart as a biometric approach to product design. In his words McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), C2C focus is to “meet the needs of the present generation while ensuring that future generations have more opportunities to meet their needs”.  Under C2C concept, materials used in commercial and industrial processes are considered to contain either biological or technical nutrients (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2015).

Technical nutrients’ are synthetic matter which cannot course harm to the natural world in addition to ability to be used countless times instead of becoming waste. While biological nutrients when used to make products they constitute organic materials which if disposed in the natural environment will decompose with minimal potential of harming the subjected eco-system (MacArthur, Zumwinkel & Stuchtey, 2015). Nutrients cycle will be continue and where all substances will retain their technical and biological nutrients. In construction products, biological cycle effectively starts and end with degradation, nutrients are absorbed by plants, then product out of the plant, the use and back to biological degradation begins again. In technical circle, a construction product for service by existence of technical nutrients leads to production thus, creating a product, which is utilized then, returned for disassembling and more nutrients are created. C2C and Circular Economy combines factors like value chain collaboration, circular design; design for recovery and disassembly and the elements of impact on buildings on humanity health, productivity and well-being.

Cradle to Cradle as a framework of Circular Economy set out environmental friendly impact including material health which is characterized as elimination of harmful ingredients from the environment (Woodcraft, 2012). C2C technique will effectively function as circular economy if materials used are healthy, safe and endlessly reusable. Renewable energy by moving towards solar and renewable energy systems and de-decarburizing the current energy system in construction sector is the way. The sector to adopt water stewardship by encouraging closed loop water use, minimizing the amount of water we use and ensuring the waters that is leaving plants  have same quality with water entering the plants (Najam, Runnalls, & Halle, 2016). Social fairness is a positive tool in these frameworks; for instance the sector has to recognize that local is better than global. It is highly encouraged to develop local diversity to build a strong local supply chain networks which easily adopt circular economy or C2C practices to make the framework successful.

Conclusion

Recycling of old ceiling tiles, application of renewable energy and water systems have been on rise in UK. In addition to efforts that are being made by other countries to develop infrastructure tools and products should be adopted by UK construction industry (Piper, 2002). However, while recycling is a well emphasize goal in UK, the public and the sector awareness of advanced recycling is not matching with the materials that have been consumed.  On the same note, the available recycling infrastructure is not able to deal effectively with materials adopted in these concepts as many would like. These and, low public awareness of what can and cannot merit recycling, investment constraints and political inertia factors have a strong influence over the quality and level of material submitted for recycling. Circular Economy is regarded to boost longevity and effectiveness of given products that are deemed of being into new products, while when C2C design embraces construction if it is applied as a concept of circular economy, envisaging construction product that will be reused and disassembled.

REFERENCES

Auty, R.M. and Brown, K. eds., 1997. Approaches to sustainable development. Psychology Press.

Brundtland, G.H., 1987. Our common future—Call for action. Environmental Conservation14(4),pp.291-294.

Burke, L. and Logsdon, J.M., 1996. How corporate social responsibility pays off. Long range planning29(4), pp.495-502.

Elkington, J., 2006. Governance for sustainability. Corporate Governance: An International Review14(6), pp.522-529.

Keiner, M. ed., 2006. The future of sustainability. Amsterdam: Springer.

MacArthur, E., Zumwinkel, K. and Stuchtey, M.R., 2015. Growth within: a circular economyvision for a competitive Europe. Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Najam, A., Runnalls, D. and Halle, M., 2016. Environment and Globalization: Five Propositions(2010). The Globalization and Environment Reader, p.94.

Piper, J.M., 2002. CEA and sustainable development: evidence from UK case studies. Environmental Impact Assessment Review22(1), pp.17-36.

Woodcraft, S., 2012. Social sustainability and new communities: Moving from concept topractice in the UK. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences68, pp.29-42.