Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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Submitted by: Duquesne University, Palumbo-Donahue School of Business
Posted: Nov 21, 2012 – 02:26 PM EST
PITTSBURGH, Nov. 21 /CSRwire/ - (NYSE: PG) Procter & Gamble was recognized for sustainable business practices at Duquesne University’s November 2012 sustainability symposium. Through collaboration with Green to Gold authors Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston, the School of Business honors an American company that achieves commercial success through social and environmental responsibility.
Jack McAneny, associate director of global sustainability, accepted the award for P&G and spoke about the company’s long-term commitment to using 100% renewable energy and making products and packaging entirely from recycled materials.
Hosted by Duquesne University, which offers an MBA emphasizing sustainability, the symposium brought together 160 executives, academics, policy makers and MBA students to examine the challenges and opportunities facing today’s business leaders. Keynote speakers were Winston and William McDonough, co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.
Winston, who encouraged the audience to collaborate, noted, “The problems we are facing today are big and systemic, and the solutions are going to come only by bringing different sectors together.”
Winston challenged companies to “future-proof” their strategies. “This is not about philanthropy,” he said. “Dealing with these pressures is just dealing with how your business operates, and dealing with rising cost pressures and the opportunity to innovate.”
McDonough, an architect, emphasized that “less bad is still bad,” explaining that businesses need to shift their focus from just reducing emissions to optimizing positive impacts. McDonough’s Ford River Rouge, which included ambitious green roofs and wetland space for native species, was cited as an example.
“Why don’t we start designing things so we understand what’s going to happen next?” McDonough asked as he painted a vision of a utopian market where companies operate ethically and offer products that pose no risk to society and become nourishment for something new at the end of their useful life. Government guardians are not required in this sustainable future, according to McDonough, because business intentions will be rooted in principles of smart design, and commerce will be free to create value quickly, efficiently, innovatively and honestly.
The symposium also featured a panel of regional executives who shed light on sustainability visionaries of the past and opportunities for the future around a 100 Years of Sustainability theme. Panelists included Dr. Urmi Ashar, board member of Excela Health; Greg Babe, CEO of Orbital Engineering Inc.; Al Neupaver, CEO of Wabtec; and Mohammed Zaidi, member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
About Duquesne University
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, with its more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability.
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