Sustaining Growth — In More Ways Than One

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Rewind the clock to September 2005, and you would see that the term "sustainable growth" carried a very different meaning than it does today. Many businesses struggled with how to incorporate sustainability into their operations. Further, businesses were not engaging each other to share best practices and learn from each other. To address this problem, Business Roundtable launched S.E.E. Change (Society, Environment, Economy).

As discussed in previous posts, S.E.E. Change promotes better business and a better world by motivating committed companies to minimize their global environmental footprint and to improve the environment through new products, technology or services that create value for society and shareholders. This objective remains the same today.

Through S.E.E. Change, Business Roundtable members implement a variety of sustainable growth initiatives and demonstrate that by working together, we can address our nation’s most pressing challenges in a positive, constructive way.
These challenges – threats to water quality and quantity, climate change, as well as increasing energy prices and growing demand – are global in scope and cannot be solved in isolation from each other. Our members have and continue to be at the forefront of these important issues, using the principles of sustainability to find solutions that enhance shareholder value while promoting social and environmental progress.

And it is critical that we "get it right." We believe that our country must aggressively promote new technologies, and our members are already doing that. Additionally, we believe industry must be a core participant in the conversation with government and that we must keep the economy in mind as we propose new environmental solutions.

Our members, including Siemens, ITT and HSBC, to name just a few, exemplify how real sustainable growth encompasses more than reducing their environmental footprint. It requires a comprehensive approach that addresses social and economic issues as well. At the Roundtable, we believe we must confront the challenges of energy security, climate change and water from a holistic standpoint that draws on the best available technology and marries responsible environment and energy stewardship with policies that promote economic growth. This holistic approach guides our members’ sustainable growth initiatives, and, we believe it will help our country and economy continue to prosper in the coming years.

While our S.E.E. Change and Climate RESOLVE efforts highlight the creativity, business sophistication and commitment that CEOs bring to environmental, economic and social progress, they do not encompass our CEOs only commitments. Business Roundtable members have several major initiatives underway that positively impact global sustainability.

Sustainable growth takes many shapes and forums at the Roundtable. These initiatives span across our different task forces and represent an array of forward looking solutions in health and wellness, education and international trade. For specific examples, you can look to our innovative report on wellness programs, our work to address
international trade and climate change, our ongoing work on workforce and education challenges, our new Partnership for Disaster Response, the Institute for Corporate Ethics and the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Initiative.

Practically every Roundtable member company has an opportunity to use sustainability principles to create business value while addressing environmental and energy challenges that just a few years ago could not have been imagined.

Our members will continue to push the sustainability envelope socially, environmentally and economically; and together, we will strive toward a more sustainable future.

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