Sustainable development is the new frontier of business and organizations. It has emerged over the past decades and gained wide acceptance, after its appearance in Our Common Future, a report published by World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. In the report, sustainable development was given a fundamental definition of "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
Sustainable development then gradually evolved into considering social equity, economic, and environmental factors simultaneously, which is also known as the triple bottom line for both social and private enterprises. Nowadays, sustainability development encompasses various aspects of life, ranging from economic advancement to gender equality, climate change to health and safety.
The growing importance of sustainability is evident in view of the constant increase in global sustainable investments. Research has also indicated that sustainability initiatives can help an organization to improve financial performance, by seizing new markets, managing risks and improving returns on capital. These are essential for an organization to survive in the drastically changing and increasingly complex global business environment.
It is beyond doubt that sustainable development delivers immediate as well as long-term benefits for business, people and planet, which is especially important to an international centre like Hong Kong.
In view of the growing importance of Sustainability among the business community, The Hong Kong Management Association launched the Hong Kong Sustainability Award in October 2016 as a long-term initiative to promote sustainability. The Award received an overwhelming response from more than 100 organizations, among which small and medium-sized enterprises accounted for half. It is positive proof that regardless of the company’s size, scale and nature of its business, sustainability can become a staple of its operation and culture. Comprehensive sustainability casebooks have been built by the winning organizations of this Award, and is expected to exert substantial influence on other companies in taking a bigger step forward on their sustainability journey.