The case for building sustainability into business ranges from reactive to proactive, as the diagram shows. For each of the 5 corporate stances, there is a distinct organisational character:
- Non-Compliance - Outlaws who have yet to meet the prevailing legislation
- Compliance - Compliers who take a minimalist approach, merely seeking to comply with the legislation
- Beyond Compliance - Case-makers who recognise and act on the convergence between environmental and social performance, and commercial self-interest
- Integrated Strategy - Innovators who recognise the opportunity that a shift to sustainability-based business models offers and who fully integrate sustainability into their corporate strategy
- Purpose/Mission - Trailblazers who recognise that all companies will soon have to be making a sustained positive contribution to a regenerative society and environment if they are to have society's licence to operate a profitable business. They therefore realise that not developing these new business models will leave them at a long term competitive disadvantage.
More in Bob Willard's book Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In (Conscientious Commerce).