Corporate sustainability is an issue that continues to garner increased attention and importance for
shareholders, consumers, and companies alike. Since 2004, Corporate Knights, a Canadian media firm,
has published a list of the top 100 sustainable companies in the world. The efforts and profits among
those highest on the list demonstrate that companies are increasingly able to adopt strategies that are
socially and environmentally responsible and financially lucrative. Consider Umicore, the top company on
Corporate Knight�s 2013 Global 100 list.
Umicore is a Belgian-based materials technology firm recognized for its treatment of their employees, the
products it produces, its profitability, and its efficiency. According to Doug Marrow, Corporate Knight�s
vice president of research, �Relative to its global peers in the materials industry group, the company
squeezes more revenue out of each resource input (including energy and water), while generating less
externalities (greenhouse gas emissions and waste)� (Smith, 2011). However, Umicore�s efforts
extend beyond its own sustainability strategies. According to Morrow, �They generate over half of their
revenue by selling products that help other firms improve their sustainability performance, such as energy
efficiency� (Smith, 2011). The company has, in effect, created a comprehensive business model based
To prepare, consider the implications of expanding the definition of sustainability to include economic and
social elements. Think about how implementing a strategy for improving sustainability can benefit the
organization you chose for your SSP (Apple Inc.).
Compose a 2 page word document, 4 paragraph minimum. Apply systems and sustainability principles to
develop a sustainability strategy.
Identify three actions that the organization you chose for your SSP (Apple Inc.) can take to implement a
more sustainable business strategy.
Explain the potential systemic benefits of each action included in the sustainability strategy.
Explain the relationships between sustainability and other organizational goals, such as managing quality,
building learning organizations, and improving adaptability.
Explain the benefits of the organization exploiting those relationships.
Explain the ethical implications of implementing a strategy for improving sustainability for that
Extend the conversation by identifying implications for practice or research, as well as for your own
research agenda, where appropriate. Be sure to integrate one or two new related and engaging questions
that will extend the discussion about your paper in constructive ways. Try to think of a question(s) that will
engage your peers in critical analysis and thinking about your organization, which may provide insight for
your use as you continue preparing your sections of the major Sustainable Solutions Paper (SSP) due in
The concept of sustainability is becoming important in corporate world today as it has the
potential of contributing to the current and future success of these organizations. Companies,
stakeholders and consumers as well have shown interest and concerns about the issues of
sustainability (Müller & Pfleger, 2014). Achievement of sustainability requires the interaction of
social, ecological need economic elements (King, 2008). Implementing sustainability therefore
presents numerous benefits to the organizations such as Apple Incl.,
Organizations have various options to take when implementing a more sustainable
business strategy. Apple Inc., deals in electronic products such as mobile phones, personal
computers, mp3 music players, software applications and tablet computers implying that it
utilizes a lot of energy that emits greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change. The
company however has the opportunity to participate in sustainability initiatives that will have
social and economic impact. One of the actions for the company to take is consider product
substitution by providing equivalent value of products, the second action is to embrace closed-
loop approach whereby at the end of their life, refurbished or disassembled of its products
components sis done and new ones are created. The third action is to ensure that its products are
produced using safer and cleaner materials to reduce and eliminate toxins. Each of these actions
has potential benefits. Product substitution will help the company to produce products at low
cost and products that have less effect on the environment. Second action of embracing closed
loop approach allows the company to reduce exploitation of natural resources as well as has less
impact on the climate. The third action ensures that the products sold to customers are safe.
Customers will be able to use the products with confidence dues to perceived fewer effects on
their health and environment.
Sustainability relates to other organizational goals such as building learning organization,
managing quality and improving adaptability. Sustainability will enable the organization to
manage its quality standards to remain competitive. It as well relates to building learning
organization since it is something that is progressive and involves reaching consensus on what is
the best for the company. Sustainability as well improves adaptability because it ensures that the
organization embraces decisions viable and appropriate to various situations of doing business
(Strand, 2014). An organization that exploits these relationships stands a chance to accrue some
benefits. One of the benefits of exploiting these relationships is that the Apple Inc., is able to
remain competitive in the market. It is able to provide services and products that meet the
thresholds of the consumers and the stakeholders. When quality is high, customers are likely to
buy the products and this definitely increases revenues of Apple Inc. It also promotes innovation
and creativity something that enhances competitive edge of the company. The company is also
able to adapt to different market conditions since it is flexible and understands the interests and
the needs of the customers (Senge, Smith, Kruschwitz, Laur & Schley, 2008).
Implementing strategy for improving sustainability for Apple Incl., has as well ethical
implications that require consideration. Ethics in business concerns doing that which is right.
Apple Inc., has a responsibility to remain ethical even as it implements these strategies to remain
competitive. The decision to reduce toxins in its products has ethical implication, as it will help
Apple Incl., to earn a positive reputation from the members of the public. The action will help
reduce green gas emissions as well as level of harmful toxins in the products. Other ethical
implications that relates to the implementation of this strategy include, risk of using cheaper
materials with the quest to earn more profits hence compromising on quality. Therefore, the
company has a responsibility to remain ethical and abide by its moral obligation. The interests of
the company should not compromise on its ethical principles (Pearce, 2008). Therefore, this
discussion is very important to my research agenda and this research as it provides additional
knowledge on the need for entities to embrace sustainability strategies to remain competitive. It
provides an opportunity to have a broader understanding of the concept of sustainability. For the
wider understanding of the concept of sustainability, is also important to ponder on whether
sustainability can be a strategy for corporate social reasonability.
Pearce, O. (2008). Holistic assessment of sustainability and its application at Halcrow. Journal of
Corporate Citizenship, 30, 37–65.
King, M. C. (2008). What sustainability should mean. Challenge, 51(2), 27–39.
Müller, A., & Pfleger, R. (2014). Business transformation towards sustainability.
Business Research, 7(2), 313-350.
Senge, P., Smith, B., Kruschwitz, N., Laur, J., & Schley, S. (2008). The necessary revolution:
Working together to create a sustainable world. New York, NY: Broadway Books.
Strand, R. (2014). Strategic Leadership of Corporate Sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics,