What are the major trends when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and/or sustainability? Part of the answer to that is given by one of my favourite ”newsletters” today, CSR-i-praktiken.se (unfortunately for foreign readers, it is in Swedish…).
CSR-i-praktiken met with 5 experts from different sectors and regions around the world, discusing about CSR-trends and came up with the following:
James Goodman, at Forum for the Future, talkes about the growth in Africa and the opportunities for green products on the African continent. He also believes that biodiversity will become more and more important for companies and finally that ”consumer power” will play a more and more important role. I can only agree with James on this. I strongly believe in, and really hope for, a continuing growth in Africa and the opportunities this presents for the people living in Afriuca but also for companies around the world. From a pharmaceutical industry perspective the unmet medical needs in Africa are enormous but there are a lot of challenges to be managed to meet those needs. Read about my experiences from looking into the health care sector in Uganda in October 2010.
When it comes to biodiversity I think it is obvious to many of us that this topic will be ”as hot” as the climate change issue. The world has huge challenges there and industry has to collaborate with other stakeholders in society to help solving the problems. Biodiversity is critical to the pharamceutical industry, just remember the high numbers of drugs today with substances coming from nature. And as you know, I am a strong believer in ”consumer power”, and always want to see ”market driven solutions”. See for instance the ongoing discussions on ”green incentives” for pharmaceuticals.
Åsa Pettersson from Vattenfall thinks e.g. that the tough financial situations for many companies will draw focus to ”cost saving sustaianbility solutions”. One area where this is absolutely true is energy saving programs and climate change initiatives. As I have dscussed here on the blog before Pfizer’s climate change efforts have resulted in a huge decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, which to a large parts equals to lower energy costs.
Alex Macintosh, at Ecomundi Ventures, sees trends on increased transparency and on more ”matured CSR strategies”. CSR becomes an intregrated part of the business. Once again I fully agree. You can read about my thinking on CSR and business strategies and see how CSR is part of the business within our operations in the so-called Walderik-Mattson pyramid.
I also appreciate that Martin Schmidt, from Serious Nature, clearly stresses the importance of industry initiatives within the sustainability area. He says that regulatory changes are slow, but he sees a lot of good initiatives coming from industry. Once again I like to relate that to the discussions on ”green incentives” as a faster, and probably more efficient, way to see changes within the pharmaceutical sector than regulatory initiatives (e.g. GMP-regulatory changes).
And then finally Katarina Pelin, from the city of Malmö, talkes about the importance that publicly owned operations supports private initiatives. I am a very strong supporter of collaborations between all different stakeholders in society. We can only reach our common goals if we collaborate. Katarina also talks about how more and more social sustainability initiatives are added to the environmental sustainability initaitives on the agendas. My perspective on this is that social sustainability is not only added to the agenda, but environmental and social sustainability efforts are actually more and more combined into joint initiatives. Pfizer’s work on Access to clean water is one good example on such an initiative.