In pursuit of sustainable business

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vanessa Hill is no naive optimist.

She believes corporate America should develop a greater social conscience, but she also knows that business executives are driven by an overriding goal: maximizing profits.

She also knows that Wall Street judges those profits every quarter. And that such a short-term outlook makes embracing sustainable values, which may not pay dividends for years, all the more difficult.

Ultimately, it will take public pressure to push corporations toward greater social responsibility, Hill said. European consumers have spoken on the matter as it relates to genetically-altered and pesticide-treated food, she said, agreeing to pay more for organic products. It’s a trend taking hold in the United States, too.

But, she said, when it comes to the cost of sustainable business, research is mixed on whether the American people are willing to pay the price.

Hill, an assistant professor of management at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, brought her interest in sustainability to Case Western Reserve University Monday for the first full day of the Business as an Agent of World Benefit Global Forum.

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Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (link opens in a new window)