In the past, sustainability programs often focused on presenting corporations in a favorable, "charitable" light. Today, however, corporate sustainability initiatives are an integral, strategic element of value creation. As such, they need active top management leadership and governance-level control.
Values create value
Assuming that a business is managed sustainably because it is behaving as "green" and socially responsible as possible in every respect is usually misleading. Business strategy expert and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter has found that the secret of successful business strategy is focus. Trying to be the cheapest and highest quality provider for all client segments at the same time rarely leads to success in the marketplace. Instead, it is better to choose a clear strategic position by asking questions such as: What types of clients do I want to serve? What mix of quality and price advantage is most attractive for them? Can I make my products or services unique? Can I provide them in a manner different from my competition, so that a marketplace advantage is created?