Sustainability

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Using AI to Help the World Thrive

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It’s possible that humankind has created complex, systemic problems that exceed our human capacity to solve them. Some companies, particularly the tech giants, are recognizing this possibility and looking to AI as a tool for solving environmental and social problems. One of these companies is Microsoft. In December 2017, it committed $50 million to its new “AI for Earth” program to fund innovators who are making progress in four critical areas — climate change, water, agriculture, and biodiversity.

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The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Create Value for Stakeholders

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The old story of business says that maximizing shareholder profit is goal number one. The new story says that shareholders matter, but not more than other stakeholders — which include customers, suppliers, employees, other financiers, and the communities in which companies operate.

Digital Transformation on Purpose

As digital technology advances, the opportunity to use it to create a more sustainable, equitable world should not be overlooked. The first step: Define key terms and set up a framework for understanding how the digital revolution can also become a revolution for sustainable development.

Business Needs a Safety Net

As the effects of climate change become more prominent, business needs to grapple with its own attitudes toward government. A more destructive physical environment requires a more nuanced relationship in which government is viewed as a partner in enabling and supporting markets rather than as a regulator that needs to be managed.

Focusing on What 90% of Businesses Do Now Is a Big Mistake

It’s not smart to base any part of your strategy on what you see in the rear-view mirror — and that’s particularly true when you develop strategies for navigating modern, thorny environmental and social challenges. The norms and expectations about how companies manage sustainability issues are shifting fast: Just six years ago, only 20% of the S&P 500 companies produced sustainability reports, while by 2016, 82% did. Change is coming to business — and executives need to adjust.

Why Companies Should Report Financial Risks From Climate Change

Meeting the recommendations for disclosure put forth by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures might seem like a tough job. But if the oil & gas industry is any example, it’s not as difficult as some might imagine — and there are excellent reasons for corporate boards to consider it.

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Digital Audits as a Tactical and Strategic Management Resource

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New factory audit processes help companies that outsource production to evaluate supplier performance in more depth, leading to more effective decision-making. Three key issues that hamper modern auditing — standardization, cost inflation, and fraud — are being mitigated by new systems that automate the inspection process while tailoring it to specific inputs. The result: analytical capabilities that go beyond the classic audit model.

Six Reasons Why Companies Should Start Sharing Their Long-Term Thinking With Investors

Most CEOs have detailed long-term plans, which are often closely held secrets out of concern that competitive advantage may be undermined by detailed disclosure. Yet disclosing a long-term plan provides an opportunity to identify financially material sustainability issues and demonstrate how the company manages business-critical issues — information that’s valuable to investors.

Sustainable Procurement Requires Perseverance

Your company’s commitment to sustainability depends on finding sustainable suppliers. What if there aren’t any? Such situations may arise more often than not — so keeping your commitment to a sustainable supply chain may mean taking a long view by making incremental improvements and encouraging suppliers to examine and change their own practices.

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