Paper Example - Global Business and Sustainability

Published: 2023-01-20
Paper Example - Global Business and Sustainability
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  International relations Environment International business Sustainable development
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 716 words
6 min read

As the global economy becomes more interdependent and integrated, the relationship between society and business is becoming more complex. Moreover, new government regulations, international agreements, and civil society organizations are emerging around the world as a result of globalization. Resultantly, firms are under greater scrutiny and are expected to operate in an ethical and socially responsible manner. This paper seeks to discuss the integrated approach to environmental management as well as the relationship between profits, ethics, and finite resources.

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Profits, Ethics, and Finite Resources

Business and society exist in a finite natural environment. Though this reality presents various constraints to both society and business, it also offers various opportunities. Income inequality, population growth, and rapid economic development have led to resource scarcity, climate change, ozone depletion, as well as disruption of biodiversity and ecosystems. Since these problems are shared by all, sustainable development is a big agenda in global businesses (Lawrence & Weber, 2017).

Therefore, businesses must strike a delicate balance between ethics, conservation of resources, and profitability. Adopting green practices as well as other corporate social responsibility initiatives, require time and money. However, the efforts and costs are profitable in the long run (Ilmi, Kustono, & Sayekti, 2017). In the words of Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, "The social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits" (Friedman, 2007). Today, the companies that pursue various CSR initiatives are among the most admired companies and have the highest profit margins. The relationship between ethics, finite resources, and profits can be seen in a strategy adopted by Nike in 2015 (Lawrence & Weber, 2017). The company created a new product consisting of 80% less waste as compared to conventional designs. Since the new product offered superior comfort, it appealed more to the customers and hence boosted sales. Similarly, in an attempt to address climate change, CSX invested more than $1.5 billion to reduce its fuel use. As a result of the investment, a ton of freight could be moved for 500 miles using a gallon of diesel fuel (Lawrence & Weber, 2017). This helped cut on the cost of fuel and boosted the revenue. Therefore, though the initiatives may be costly in the short term, they are profitable in the long-run.

Integrated Approach to Environmental Management

The growing public concern regarding sustainability has prompted corporate, civil society, and political leaders to become more responsive to environmental matters. Increasingly, government policymakers are relying more on economic incentives rather than control regulations in the quest to achieve environmental goals. Though environmental laws have led to many benefits, the government must ensure that the promotion of a clean environment does not compromise the competitiveness of the economy (Lawrence & Weber, 2017).

Businesses are adopting various green management practices to achieve the same goal. To effectively implement the environmental management strategies, an integrated approach involving all the levels of the organization must be taken. The top leadership of the organization, sustainability managers, employees, and other stakeholders must all be engaged. Other than protecting the environment, these strategies also give the firms a competitive advantage. Recent studies have shown a positive relationship between the performance of a business and its sustainability practices (Wolf, 2014).


As the world's population grows and more nations pursue economic development, the pressure heaped on the earth's finite resources is mounting. To address the issue, governments, civil societies, and businesses are working to achieve sustainable management. While such efforts are costly for businesses in the short term, they are profitable in the long term for businesses, as evidenced by the cited examples.


Friedman, M. (2007). The social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits. Corporate ethics and corporate governance, 173-178. Retrieved from

Ilmi, M., Kustono, A. S., & Sayekti, Y. (2017). Effect Of Good Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure, and Managerial Ownership to The Corporate Value with Financial Performance as Intervening Variables: Case on Indonesia Stock Exchange. International Journal of Social Science and Business, 75-88. Retrieved from

Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2017). Business and Society. Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Wolf, J. (2014). The relationship between sustainable supply chain management, stakeholder pressure and corporate sustainability performance. Journal of business ethics, 119(3), 317-328. Retrieved from

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