Sustainable business management

Difficult road to sustainable business management

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Most people see the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement as a big success. But we still have a long and difficult road to reach our sustainable goals, particularly in the business sector. How can we accelerate the changes?

According to Alan AtKisson in his article Wake up: We still have a long, long way to go:

While there are happy signs of forward motion on sustainability, all around us, we are still, in real physical terms, just getting started on the actual challenge of sustainability transformation. This is especially true in the business sector.


Only small percent of the world’s companies reference 2-degrees-C limit on global temperature rise from greenhouse gas emissions.

The limits of forests or fish to regenerate themselves, and other tipping points in ecosystems are left unknown. Corporate responsibility, sustainability, and CSR reports simply steer clean from such data. Rarely, there is any mention concerning the big picture or long-term visions. Because of that, the reports only partially represent the reality of implementation of sustainable practices into business management.


The worst is that the number of companies that include those variables in their reports appears to be static.

According to the Danish research, throughout the last 15-years, the amount of companies referencing limits of ecosystems in their reports stays firmly at 5%.

Alan AtKisson writes that:

Until business management starts to pay serious attention to the limits of our planet’s ecological systems, and to manage its operations with these limits in mind, our planet’s ecosystems remain at grave risk.

So, despite the success of Paris Agreement, it is still necessary to motivate sustainable practices in the business sector for positive changes to take the root.

But how to do that? Till now, companies mostly see sustainable practices in business as unprofitable, and they are the ones who should implement them. On that account, what we must do is to convince business sector that in a long term, sustainable practices are profitable and that it is, in fact, possible and essential to maintain the balance between different aspects of managing a business.


There is already vast selections of games which help in experiencing the business transition to the sustainability and spark reflection on the role of business in a sustainable community.

For example, one of such games is Centre for Systems Solutions’ Green&Great, which uses AtKisson’s Compass of Sustainability.


In the game, players assume the roles of managers in consulting companies. They compete for clients and seek the balance between economic issues, the social goals and environmental stability. Players manage employees and projects to gain a better reputation and to win the rivalry with other companies.


As Alan Atkisson has written “the world’s sustainability journey is truly just beginning”.

We still have a long way to go. But with more and more tools to motivate sustainable behavior the road to sustainability might be not as bumpy as it could.

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