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Vision and mission: A barrier to sustainability strategy

What, you may wonder, do I mean by this blog post title?

How could the vision and mission of a company be a barrier to being a sustainability leader?

Simple really. If it doesn’t include it. If the vision and the mission makes no explicit mention of sustainability.

Check out this PowerPoint deck from slideshare below. It’s two and a half years old I admit. But I bet not much has changed.

See how many of the major companies here include any vague mention of ethics or sustainability in their vision and mission statements.

I’ll save you some time. Virtually none. GE has a mention of “good things” coming to life.

Perhaps the below, hyperlinked here for those who can’t see the embedded file, is one reason why despite kidding themselves that sustainability is embedded in strategy, CEOs are generally wrong about that.

If a head of sustainability/corporate responsibility can’t get the vision and mission statement of the company changed (and we’re not even getting into the area of explicit corporate values here), perhaps they ought to look for another company to move to.

I apologise for sounding grumpy in this post. But we really ought to be doing better than this:

1 Comment

  1. Diane Mountain, ERM

    They may not use the "s" word, but several companies explicitly mention diversity, social responsibility, environmental stewardship, collaboration. In my opinion, it is more meaningful to reference specific elements of sustainability, which can be established more readily into a company's business strategy than the all-encompassing (and often vague) concept of "sustainability."

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