This article is written by Debabrata Samanta.

Today, we see the increased frequency of natural disasters worldwide which have been linked to climate change. Various reports provide more and more evidence that human activities are at the origin of the greenhouse effect.

The question that comes to our mind is how to manage the human activities sustainably without impacting the climate. The basic control is on balancing the activities/thought processes to meet the requirements of all five senses and the activities towards giving out to the society through continuous monitoring of inward development (spiritualism).

Sustainable Development is the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

The sustainability movement has nonetheless gained traction because of the evident inefficiency of our current products and production processes.

Because of the growing societal concerns viz; negative social and environmental impact of communication technologies, businesses are under strong pressure to measure their impacts on the natural and social environment and to engage in triple bottom line reporting to account for the energy and other resources they use, and the resulting footprint they leave behind.

Employees need to take pride in their work and need to believe their companies operate in a prudent and responsible manner and care about employee health and safety. Concerning the planet, aligning sustainability goals with employees (people) and market incentives (profit) can be difficult. That is , profit people and planet are not that easily balanced.

People can speak up , but planet can not defend itself except that planet brings in natural disasters when planet can’t defend itself. And, this natural disaster brings pain to a section of people getting impacted while others still not concerned till they themselves are impacted, which is already late.

Hence, it is better both for people and planet to think beyond profit. That is where spiritualism balancing with materialism helps in developing the mindset of the people.

Porter (1991) argued : “The conflict between environmental protection and economic competitiveness is a false dichotomy based on a narrow view of the sources of prosperity and a static view of competition”.

We see natural disasters happening in recent times in more frequent interval around the world. One recent example is that of the flood situation, happened almost after 100 years in Chennai.

People can speak up loudly and clearly while defending themselves, when injustice is meted out to them either by corporate or by the political system of the place the same people belong to. But, the planet can’t defend itself on its own, when it is impacted by environmental pollution, climate change. However, nature tries to balance out this impact by repeated occurrence of natural disasters plundering people’s lives, economy and wealth.

In this backdrop, the responsibility of the government, society and the corporate sector in managing their information systems, standards, procedures, laws, operating instructions on day to day operations is the need of the hour. Any decision at any level in the corporate sector, government, society should naturally and properly balance concerns of economic as well as environmental sustainability, natural and social.

A stable (i.e. sustainable) stool requires at least three legs. A first leg is tangible top management (Corporate, Government, Local administrative body) commitment on clear operational strategy. Second leg, of course, is the execution plan (e.g. developing systems, processes, procedures and standards) of sustainable strategy, and, third leg is the individual who needs to carry the sustainability in his/her heart and mind.

And, through recent Paris Climate Summit (COP 21), we can see the first leg is made now towards the objective of getting a stable stool.

Let us contribute towards fixing the second and third legs.

Reference: Faculty & Research Working Paper on “Corporate Responsibility and Operations Management”- INSEAD Publication

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