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Sustainable Development: The Source of Many Competitive Advantages for Companies

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  1. Introduction
  2. The concept of corporate culture
    1. Corporate culture
    2. Business culture
    3. Regional culture
  3. How can we observe culture?
    1. Myths
    2. The craft
    3. Values
    4. Taboos
    5. The symbols
    6. Rites
    7. Languages
    8. Dress codes
  4. Corporate culture: management, functions and limits
    1. Culture and management
    2. The limits of corporate culture
  5. Conclusion

For quite some time now, experts have been sounding warning bells over the risks associated with our lifestyle. Lester Brown points out in his book "Plan B" that "there are not enough resources in the world to allow the Chinese to reach the level of consumption of the United States." Another pressing concern: The Pentagon states in a confidential report that "climate warming is likely to engender a new global conflict." Chaos has been forecasted in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 along with Al Gore) which predicts that by the year 2080, "several million people will be affected by rising sea levels and probably forced displacement. Poor countries, which are not responsible for emissions of greenhouse gases, will be by far the most affected."

The IPCC also predicts an increase in temperature between 1.5 and 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, based on the different emissions of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols in the 21st century.

The 2003 heat wave in Europe, the tsunami in late 2004, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the United States, bring us to the certainty that extreme weather phenomena are a reality we can all relate to. However, experts are not so unanimous on one point, the need to change our behavior to shift rapidly to a "sustainable" economy for economic growth and jointly safeguard the planet in the long term. In this study, by taking into account the environment and the "sustainable development" concepts, we will show how companies which implement such concepts can enjoy a competitive advantage over those that ignore these aspects. The concept of sustainable development was defined in 1987 by the Brundtland report, which stated that "development is sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs." It is based on the co-development of three pillars: an environmental pillar, an economic pillar and a social pillar. We will focus our analysis on the pillars of Economy and Environment, which together form a development that can be termed as "viable". Nevertheless, we will frequently use the term "sustainable development" for simplicity.

In Asia, rising pollution evidenced by the brown cloud is spreading and threatening to poison an entire continent. Africa is plagued by conflicts, AIDS, desertification and famine. Some island countries are endangered by global warming. It is time we take care that the twenty-first century does not become, for future generations, the reason for crime against life and humanity.

We will see that major global goals were first established at the international level, especially with the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali conference, and that France is particularly concerned by the subject, and finally that the major guidelines and standards at the national level are intended to harden and thus forcing all players to respect an environmental approach.

It has also been observed for several years now that a real awareness of environmental issues on the part of politicians who meet more often to discuss ways to implement to ensure the sustainability of the planet while keeping the better competitiveness of their domestic companies has come into place.

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