Sustainability, stakeholders and profits
A BT case study

Page 0: Introduction

The business community has a vital role in promoting sustainable development: 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' (Brundtland Report 1987). This Case Study examines how BT has developed an approach to sustainability that goes beyond a traditional 'business case' for sustainability to one equally based on...
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Page 1: BT´s approach to sustainable development

This is built around four key moral principles. Equity today: the duty to meet the present generation's needs. At the recent United Nations Millennium Summit several targets were agreed, including halving by 2015 the number of people (c1.2 billion) living on less than $1 (60p) a day and achieving primary education for all 113 million children who are currently without access to primary...
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Page 2: BT, connectivity, and sustainable development

BT is one of the UK's best known companies. It operates globally and looks to provide effective communication, irrespective of geography, distance, time or complexity. In 2003, BT won the Queen's Award for Enterprise, in recognition of the substantial improvement in its business performance resulting from continuous achievement in sustainable development. Also, for the third year running, BT...
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Page 3: Stakeholders and sustainability

Stakeholders are individuals and groups with an interest in how an organisation is run and the results it achieves. BT has a two-way relationship with each of its main stakeholder groups. Shareholders are the most influential group in any company. BT is convinced that the best way to create shareholder value and to add value to being a shareholder is by enhancing stakeholder value e.g. making...
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Page 4: Creating stakeholder value through Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) covers the voluntary actions a company can take that contribute towards the wider social goals associated with sustainable development. BT believes that long term stakeholder valueis best achieved through focusing on a 'triple bottom line'. Its website ( provides BT's Social and Environmental Report in which impacts are quantified and...
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Page 5: Sustainability and the future

The two main institutions that can influence a move towards sustainability are government and business. Government can establish the necessary laws, and also financial incentives such as taxes that stimulate sustainable action, but it cannot compel companies to be virtuous. Business therefore needs to realise that the virtuous pursuit of sustainability also represents enlightened self-interest...
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