By Laura Clise, Director of Sustainable Development
A week ago, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at Business for Social Responsibility’s annual conference. The conference brings together a diverse community of private, non-profit, and public sector sustainability leaders to engage in discussions and working sessions around today’s most critical sustainability challenges and opportunities. The breakout sessions reflected the theme of the conference: Innovate. Integrate. Inspire.
Increasingly, sustainability is a key driver of innovation, as companies from a wide range of sectors have realized the opportunities afforded through increased resource efficiency, design for the environment, and the brand impact of products that reflect a corporate commitment to environmentally and socially responsibility. As more and more CEOs and Corporate Boards have recognized the business impact and importance of sustainability and corporate responsibility the integration of sustainability across business functions and business lines has been taking place throughout the world. This integration extends beyond “a company’s four walls” as businesses have realized the strategic imperative regarding robust stakeholder engagement practices. Beyond “license to operate”, there is the recognition that long-term business viability must be rooted in a collaborative community relationship.
The panel that I participated in, Risk and Reward: Incorporating CSR into Due Diligence focused on the integration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability into corporate due diligence practices. The other panelists were Sharon Walck, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, HSBC, North America and Charles Weiss, Vice President, Health, Environment, and Safety, Occidental Petroleum Corporation.
For AREVA, risk management and due diligence do not occur without taking into account a variety of sustainability criteria. If we’re looking to maximize the benefits of a product, project or partnership, it is critical to examine the risks and opportunities linked to social responsibility, societal expectations, and environmental impact. That being said, the due diligence exercise is not an end in and of itself, but rather creates the foundation for trust and partnership.
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