The first call by a multilateral bank directly to corporations to play an active role in the development of the region.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the UN’s Brundtland Commision Report, Our Common Future, advocating that business and society champion “sustainable development”: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A decade later, author and entrepreneur John Elkington coined the term “Triple Bottom Line,” proposing that business goals were inseparable from the societies and environments within which they operate, and that companies can and should elevate “sustainability” as an integral part of their corporate missions; addressing social, environment, and financial impacts of their enterprises.
Whereas ten years ago corporations’ focus on the triple bottom line was a choice, it is now a necessity. Thanks to the proliferation of the Internet, traditional and social media, NGOs and other advocacy organizations, corporate behavior is monitored and disseminated as never before. And for consumers, shareholders, and stakeholders in general, an enterprise’s sustainability practices are increasingly important.
While there are many indexes of sustainability –Dow Jones’s being the most prominent– there has not been an index that measures sustainability in emerging markets, where the environmental and social challenges are daunting and the variations in performance immense. Until now. This month the Inter-American Development Bank launched its Corporate Sustainability Index. While the Index includes the Americas only, it represents the first call done by a multilateral development bank directly to corporations to play an active role in the development of the region.
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