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The Ethics of Addressing Sustainability Issues

Patricia Harned | September 5, 2007

Imagine waking up from the following nightmare: massive floods caused by global warming; four-year-olds running large machines in dark factories; a village of shacks razed to make way for a new chemical plant. And above it all, the CEO of your company behind the curtain, controlling everything.

You wake from this nightmare figuring it was bound to happen, after spending the prior weekend at a conference on corporate sustainability programs. Now all you can envision, asleep or awake, is the possibility of some issue ruining your company’s reputation—and taking financial stability down with it.

Knowing you won’t get back to sleep, you sit down at the kitchen table and start sketching out a plan to present at the next board meeting. Although you tend to be “old-style” when it comes to corporate governance, you have to admit that, in today’s market, boards that fail to consider the potential impact of their strategic decisions on social issues...

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