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: business itself stands to gain.
The pursuit of sustainability takes a long term view of mankind's relationship with the planet. By adopting this approach, businesses are best placed to look after all of their stakeholders as well as acting as stewards for the environment.
BT is convinced that by promoting sustainability based equally on sound business practice and moral principles and by adopting open and frank discussions within CSR it is moving in the right direction.
Profit has an important part to play by making the necessary investment possible in the social and environmental ingredients of the triple bottom line. A useful guide for business today is: 'Do the profitable thing now and do it as responsibly as possible. At the same time, press hard on a moral basis for making a high proportion of those responsible activities more profitable.'