Sustainability For Sustainable Development

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Sustainability Reporting
Sustainability means different things to different people; therefore, a universal definition of sustainability is elusive. The most often quoted definition is from the Brundtland Commission (1987), which states that sustainable development is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability is, therefore, more of a journey than a destination wherein ideals, values and measurement metrics are in a constant state of evolution.

The quest for sustainable development started with environmental concerns, and climate change has now become one of the biggest developmental challenges. As the Brundtland Commission had discovered
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The increasing trend towards liberalization and globalization demands increased integration and the convergence to global environment reporting and accounting standards. Therefore it is not only important for the companies to be transparent, accountable and socially responsible but also to ensure adequate returns to the shareholders and satisfy various stakeholders and society at large about their conduct.
The economic activities of corporate entities in different countries are causing concerns for planners, managers and the environmentally conscious people. Since the corporate continue to be the biggest consumers of environmental resources and hence they should shoulder greater responsibilities towards the environmental management. There is a pressing need to ensure that environmental concerns are woven into corporate actions and the best corporate governance practices. It is now being realized by the economists, environmentalists, business managers and accountants that (i) if the benefits from rising incomes are offset by the costs imposed on health and quality of life by pollution, this cannot be called development and that (ii) environmental damage can undermine future productivity. The corporate also managers need to remember the effects of their investment decisions on the
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The proposition that organizations, and business organizations in particular, should supplement their financial accounting with accounting on their environmental, social and other 'non-financial' performance - or 'sustainability reporting' - first emerged in the 1990s. At the time of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), relatively few companies engaged in SR in any form. Responding to the increasing media attention to environmental problems, most reports focused on environmental policies and performance. While calls for SR initially stemmed mainly from advocacy groups and investors, as well as some business leaders, governments played a historic role in formally recognizing the importance of this new dimension of reporting. It is often overlooked that environmental reporting was specifically recognized by the world's governments in Agenda 21, one of the main outcomes of the UNCED conference. There it was agreed that 'business and industry, including transnational corporations, should be encouraged to report annually on their environmental records, as well as on their use of energy and natural resources'. (UNCED conference, 2002) In the decade between UNCED and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable

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