In the 21st century, it’s high time, or perhaps the last chance, for all business sectors to truly transform towards ‘genuinely’ sustainable operations. The main mission of business is to create profit. Some say the biggest CSR of the business entity is creating employment for people, which mentality continues from the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is true that the steady employment pays regular monthly salaries to people, which makes it possible to put food on the table. While we all know, however, that the climate change may affect our regions, the natural resources (oil, metals, water etc.) may be used up soon, and various social imbalances and conflicts may be causing instability in different parts of the world, will human beings survive or have a sustainable future as long as we alone are fed?

In many companies established in previous centuries, as far as I experienced, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/ Sustainability was unfortunately not imbedded in the foundation of their businesses. Since it was not the critical element from the start, they reluctantly had to add CSR/ Sustainability to their old mentality and operations as the social attention increases. These companies still do not abandon the notion that CSR/ Sustainability is a dispensable cost, especially when their economies decline.

CSR/ Sustainability in the 21st century requires more than legal compliance and a clear sense of ownership. How far can each business proactively take its responsibility based on its own values? For entrepreneurs and businesses in the 21st century, it is crucial to set the CSR/ Sustainability aspiration as an integral part of the business foundation. CSR/ Sustainability is not just a corporate gesture after making profits. Every operation of the business needs to take CSR/ Sustainability agenda into consideration from the start.

Through my experiences over 13 years, it became very clear that the Sustainability agenda of businesses is not for one company to deal with individually but for the whole and every industry to take on together. Tackling on the Sustainability agenda should not be a competition among companies, instead effective and efficient cooperation among the business sectors should be the way forward. We are all in the same boat and facing to the same dilemma after all.

The biggest challenge of sustainability is to change our behaviours in everyday life.

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Sustainability for Startups 2015 (pdf)

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