Is Sustainability a 'Nice to Have' for Global Players?

Alan L. Johnson

In an article published in Politico, Richard White, AB InBev Europe’s vice president for procurement and sustainability discusses whether sustainability is a 'nice to have' for global players. He mentions:

As a global business, we are all too aware that climate change is the most pressing issue confronting our planet. What some people forget is that what is bad for the planet is bad for business — water shortages, poor harvests and pollution all pose significant business risks. This is why the private sector also has an obligation and must be part of the solution. Businesses are a key source of global carbon emissions, which is one of the most significant contributors to climate change, so when they come to the table they can make a difference

What is great about Richard's obvious "no" is that he is completely right in his thoughts. What is wrong for the world is wrong for business. There are plenty of times when industry has polluted willingly and faced the consequences.

In general, business models that rob, create false customer promises, or deceive in some way generally do not end up being sustainable. Especially in the modern business environment we live in, dishonesty is met with brutal consequences. Just think if someone thought AB InBev was manufacturing beer with forced labor. The outcry would be immense.

It is interesting to think if sustainability is 'nice to have' but it doesn't seem like much of a question these days. If companies aren't thinking about sustainable supply chains, products, and business models, there is little hope for them in the modern economy.

Social pressure on networks like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter create an ecosystem where there is zero tolerance. Any whiff of a scandal and everyone knows immediately, whether true or false.

Companies not only have to think about sustainability but should be using it to improve their ​market position with customers.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. How would you describe Social Pressure?

Q2. What is a sustainable business that you know?

Q3. What products do you use that are sustainable?