Walmart's efforts to green its supply chain are about to get much more effective. Sustainability will now play a role in its merchants' performance reviews, which help determine pay raises and potential for future promotion. This is a big deal: these merchants are high-level managers responsible for multibillion-dollar buying decisions. They're the people who determine which products appear on the shelves of the world's largest retailer.
When you look at the environmental and social challenges we face, it's often tough to stay optimistic. The worst predictions of climate science are coming true. Resource scarcity – especially water – is a major threat to business and the economy. Worker conditions around the world, like those that lead to the unfathomable tragedies in Bangladesh, can seem like intractable problems. And the political system that we need to tackle big issues is mostly broken.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama gave what Al Gore called the "best presidential address on climate change ever." It's true: the actions President Obama outlined will likely reduce our contribution to climate change, possibly by quite a lot. And while the plan will have large impacts on business, it's not a big enough vision to meet the scale of our climate challenge.
Sustainability is firmly on the CEO and leadership agenda today for two big reasons: (1) It pays and (2) there's no other choice. But it also needs to be on the HR executive's agenda – without HR support and leadership, companies won't create as much value as they could.
Sustainability is firmly on the CEO and leadership agenda today for two big reasons: it’s profitable and, well, there’s no other choice. On the latter point, all companies are facing tremendous pressures that make sustainability unavoidable, including three mega-forces which are challenging business as usual: (1) climate change and weather, (2) resource constraints and input prices, and (3) transparency and openness.