Facebook Facebook icon Twitter Twitter icon LinkedIn LinkedIn icon Email
electric car sustainability


We need a realistic, fact-based approach to sustainability

IbyIMD+ Published 25 April 2023 in Magazine • 5 min read

The current approach to sustainability is underpinned by guilt. We need a more constructive engagement between the US-led West and non-Western countries. 

Sustainability – as usually packaged by regulators, the media, and business schools – combines environmental, social, and economic objectives. The complex interplay of all three is seen to be both achievable and desirable. But this is based on three questionable beliefs.  

The first is that being sustainable can go hand in hand with being profitable. But it is hard, if not impossible, to find a sound business model that does not transfer the costs of sustainability to external stakeholders, be they customers or shareholders. 

The second is that stock markets reward sustainability and environmental friendliness. However, there is ongoing debate about what’s behind the observable premium at which sustainable companies trade, and a sustainability bubble exists in which returns are driven by investor demand, not by fundamental changes in company behavior. 

The third belief is that the world would be a better place if companies incorporated sustainability in their…

Corporate membership

Login and subscribe to IbyIMD+ subscription

Explore first person business intelligence from top minds curated for a global executive audience