For many in the corporate sector, sustainability is perceived as a soft issue, far removed from the real business of maximising shareholder value. All too often it’s seen as being about ‘giving back’ to society through a social investment programme, encouraging marketing departments to embrace the ‘green agenda,’ and signing up to charters and initiatives that supposedly signify some form of higher moral compass.
‘This misunderstanding of sustainability demonstrates both a failure within the business sector to appreciate the strategic significance of societal issues, as well as the flawed approach of many within the sustainability movement who continue to frame the debate in the context of ‘doing the right thing,’ says Jonathon Hanks (pictured), director of Incite.
Hanks will be addressing this and other misconceptions during the Environmental Management in Tourism (EMiT) conference from 9-10 November at the Sandton Sun Conference Centre in Johannesburg.
Recognising that there is only one bottom line in business, Hanks adopts a value-based approach towards sustainability. This implies the death of the ‘triple-bottom-line’ and is critical of the dangers of an undue focus on ‘being green,’ while at the same he challenges the current ‘out-dated approach to value creation’ that permeates most boardrooms and investment houses.
A new understanding of value creation and integrated reporting is informing the key governance trend both locally and internationally and Hanks believes that this has implications for the tourism sector.
‘This understanding offers a strategic approach to sustainability and good corporate governance aimed at helping companies to compete better in increasingly turbulent times.’
‘Those companies that will do better in the longer-term are those that are asking not ‘what should my sustainability strategy be in the context of my business,’ but rather ‘what should my business strategy be in the context of sustainability challenges,’ Hanks says.
Hanks joins a range of local and international speakers at EMiT, a conference about responsible tourism and the impact that tourism has on the environment.