The aim of this essay is to effectively convey what constitutes a responsible enterprise in regards to one Sustainable Development Goal. Sustainable development is defined According to the WCED, as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” bruntlandreport,1987. WCED, 1987: 43

 

The criterion of sustainability integrate three firmly interlinked elements: economic, environmental and social, and once successfully combined can lead to long lasting sustainability Sheehan, 2009. Environmental sustainability means that we are living within the means of our natural resources.To live in true environmental sustainability we need to ensure that we are consuming our natural resources, such as energy fuels, materials, water and land at a sustainable rate. In relation to economic sustainability, it requires that an company or nation uses its resources sensibly and resourcefully in order for it to function in a sustainable manner to constantly generate an operational profit. lastly is social sustainability which is the capability of humanity, or any societal organisation, to persistently accomplish a high level of social well being circularecology,2017. Conway and Laasch 2014 suggest that sustainable development can only be reached if it is based on social, environmental and economic co development.

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However research has shown that there are alternative frameworks that may be more accurate, one of which being the egg of sustainability computingforsustainability,2017. This framework suggests that the environment sustains all life forms. It encompasses the social and economic spheres. Without the environment neither man society nor his economy can exist. The environment is the set and society and the economy are sub-sets.

There are two basic critiques of the three pillars of sustainability. The first assumption is that each “pillar” is an individual construct. Some writers claim that individuals are biological entities and thus implying that human resources are also environmental resources which means they cannot be independent. second, is the observation that the model does not encompass a time measurement which is a key element of the WCED 1987 definition.

There are 17 sustainable development goals which came into place at the beginning of 2016. These are goals set out by the UN and world leaders in order to end global challenges. The sustainable development goal that I have chosen to talk about within my essay is goal number 5 which is gender equality un,2017. There target is to diminish all forms of discrimination against girls and women worldwide by the year 2030 Globalgoals,2017

 

In relation to the economic pillar of sustainability there are many challenges related to gender equality. A large amount of literature Barro 2001, Schultz 2002, Dollar and Gatti 1999; Knowles, 2002 and Klasen 2002 insinuates that, gender equality has a positive influence on economic development. The worldwide economy is currently losing out on trillions of pounds. Studies suggest that women currently account for merely 37 percent of total worldwide economic output. Women would add a quarter to todays worldwide production figures if they participated equally with that of their opposite counterpart.

 

In terms of environmental challenges research from the Irish Aid suggests women have less control over and access to land and natural resources than the opposite counterpart and in many cases women are excluded from formal ownership of land Irishaid,2017. Due to their so cially constructed roles and existing inequalities, women are more vulnerable to the impacts of environmental and natural disasters such as drought, floods and cyclones than men. Degraded environments mean that women have to walk further to collect water and fuel wood. As a result their access to education and other productive activities may be curtailed and they will be exposed to the risk of gender based violence in isolated areas irishaid,2017.

 

Lastly in relation to the social pillar of sustainability. Research has shown that the women in lower economically developed countries have a lower life expectancy in comparison to their opposite counterpart. For example women that live in Bangladeshi are expected to make it to 58.7 years compared to 59.2 years for men due to inequality throughout the whole life.

 

Research has also shown that gender stereotypes and gender role socialization still exist within modern day societies. An article from the planned parent hood suggested that gender role sociolastion takes place when the child is of a young age. Toys and games that are available for children are unconsciously intended to socialize them into the appropriate gender roles. Pink toys are available for girls and blue toys are available for boys. Girls often get dolls and dresses and boys often get action men and guns. This is because within society women are expected to be more natureing and mortherly while men are expected to be more masculine and aggressive.

 

Business holds a very clear responsibility with regard to gender equality.

The private sector could have a transformational influence on individuals’ lives as a creator of employment and manufacturer of goods and services that underprivileged people use. Donor organisations are paying increasing attention to how private sector development can be leveraged to upkeep poverty reduction and sustainable, equitable and inclusive economic growth. Making use of social development thinking is essential to effective private sector development work that is responsible, inclusive, and delivers sustainable benefits to poor people.

There is strong evidence that increasing women’s economic opportunities can help achieve positive development outcomes. Private sector development approaches can support this by, for instance, improving women’s access to employment and financial services Markel 2014. One company that uses CSR strategies for sustainable development is UNIDO which is the united nations industrial development organization. UNIDO actively builds partnerships with the private sector to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development. One example of this is there partnership with Chevron. They work together in order to introduce entrepreneurship as a subject to girls and boys in secondary schools. A national roll-out of entrepreneurship curriculum was planned for 214 reaching 500,000 potential entrepreneurs. Another example is the Volvo group-UNIDO project furthers skills development in advanced commercial vehicle maintenance and helps young women and men find jobs in Ethiopia.

With responsible enterprise being such a complex phenomenon, there is no consensus, thus no singular definition. The various interpretations incorporate a number of elements which include sustainability, corporate social responsibilities (CSR and corporate citizenship. Responsible enterprise as a whole is outlined as when corporations “operationalise their corporate responsibilities in all of their strategies and business practices by developing relationships with stakeholders and by working to maximise sustainability of the natural environment.” Waddock and Rasche, 2012: 4

 

Similarly, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication ‘Making Good Business Sense’ by Lord Holme and Richard Watts, define corporate social responsibility as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large” Worthington and Britton, 2015.

 

 

Carroll’s 1991 model suggests that corporate social responsibility is composed of 4 obligations which are made up of economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibility as shown in the diagram on the right growyourgiving.org. Carrols theory indicates that CSR is built on the foundation of profit and that all other requirements come after. In essence, Carroll’s definition shows that corporate social responsibly has more than one element. It brings together a range of interpretations. However, the stages are not progressive or chronological. The diagram leads you to presume that Carroll’s theory is based on a hierarchical structure thus meaning that the higher up on the pyramid you get, the more important each stage is. Though this is not the case since Carroll “stipulates that the economic and legal domains are the most fundamental, while philanthropic responsibilities are considered less important.” Schwartz, 2011:90.

 

Furthermore, responsible enterprise can be defined using the concept of corporate citizenship CC. Crane and Matten 2010, believe it should be associated with the corporations action towards governing the social, political and civil rights towards citizens Crane and Matten, 2010 Matten et al 2003. Corporate Citizenship has reference towards the relationship between the individual and the state. In other terms, the rights of the individuals are protected and preserved by the government. Also, insinuating that companies have a set of rights and duties to the community Grisseri and Seppala, 2010.

 

Sustainability, in turn, introduces the idea that business is part of a still wider set of relationships than those outlined above Crane & Matten 2016. Porritt 2007, Laasch & Conaway 2015

 

However, taken together, these three concepts suggest

 

Focusing on the national level, we can see that the UK government has attempted to encourage more responsible enterprise with regards to Goal 5 “gender equality”.  Legislation for gender equality is ongoing in the UK. Studies have shown that incentives have been put in place to reduce gender inequality.     Milestones include the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870, the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975, the Pensions Act of 1995 and the Employment Equality Sex Discrimination Regulations 2005.

 

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive Officer, E.L Rothschild argued that compliance with regulations would advance gender equality by increasing collaboration across the public and private spheres to provide women and girls accessible career choice and advancement opportunities gov,2017.

 

In regards to the UK government, as a whole, the Green Money Journal 2002 research found that over £120 billion was invested in institutional and retail funds with active social responsible policies, and sustainable development Higgs, 2002. In essence, this shows that the government, in the last couple of decades, started to see the requirement of responsibly investing to meet its agendas. This caused for government to intervene. As a result, governments have adopted responsibility of driving CSR, through laws, regulations and tax Moon, 2004.

 

One example of the goverments role in gender equality can be seen within universities in the UK. The British programme, Athena SWAN Scientific Women’s Academic Network, launched at ten universities in 2005 and has since spread to more than 140 UK institutions. The voluntary scheme relies on universities supplying self-assessments to the Equality Challenge Unit, a non-profit organization that judges the institutions on their inclusiveness and equality in hiring, promoting and retaining female staff. Nature,2017

 

A major reason for the scheme’s rapid rise in the United Kingdom was its link to funding. In 2011 the UK government’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, made holding a silver award a requirement for receiving grants from a £816-million US$1.1-billion pot of government biomedical funding. But the scheme spread well beyond the institutions competing for that funding. This was motivated in part by “moral pressure” but also because some staff thought that future funding decisions could become linked to such ratings, says Athene Donald, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, UK. Major funders such as the UK Research Councils recommend that institutions seek accreditation, but have not made it a requirement. Nature,2017

 

Evaluations of the British programme have been positive. In a 2016 survey of UK academics, almost 90% of respondents who were aware of Athena SWAN felt that the scheme’s initiatives had a positive impact on the work environment. Some institutions saw particular success. Between the University of Liverpool receiving a bronze award in 2013 and a silver in 2016, the proportion of women promoted to professor posts increased from 28% to 50%. Other participating universities have made similar gains. Nature,2017

 

However, studies of the UK suggest that Since 2010, the UK government’s austerity policies, including welfare cuts, have impacted massively on women and gender equality. According to research by the House of Commons library, 86% of funding cuts have come out of women’s pockets as a result of tax and benefit changes, such as a cap on housing benefit. That means the cuts since 2010 will have cost women a total of £79bn, compared to £13bn for men theguardian,2017

 

The UK has made significant progress in many areas of women’s equality, as evidenced by the increase in women’s economic activity, and their academic achievements. Law and policy on women’s equality
in the UK are regarded as a beacon of good practice internationally, and independent bodies are in place to monitor and enforce compliance with the law as well as to offer guidance and support. Measuring and monitoring of progress towards the equality and empowerment of women and girls are done well, by a range of stakeholders from government to academia, business and civil society.

 

Consequently, governments also need to…

The UK has made significant progress in many areas of women’s equality, as evidenced by the increase in women’s economic activity, and their academic achievements. Law and policy on women’s equality
in the UK are regarded as a beacon of good practice internationally, and independent bodies are in place to monitor and enforce compliance with the law as well as to offer guidance and support. Measuring and monitoring of progress towards the equality and empowerment of women and girls are done well, by a range of stakeholders from government to academia, business and civil society.

In conclusion, there are many different explanations as to what constitutes a responsible enterprise. Motivating sustainable development and driving corporate social responsibility initiatives are key in order to become a responsible organasation. Though this essay only covered a few worldwide challenges, many exist and are increasing rapidly throughout the world. These struggles pertain to economic, social and environmental issues and by recognising these and putting in place maintainable solutions we can prolong life on earth, raise global social wellbeing and push economic development in preparation for future generations.

Overall, partnerships are essential from business’s, non profit organasation and the government. Working together means that there is an increased level of contribution to improving sustainability in order to tackle current global challenges. Businesses become aware by the  implementation of initiatives and legislation by the government in order to reduce gender inequality.

In regards to non profit organisations, they address the issues by investing in the problems that require the most help and support. Sustainability requires a far reaching contribution thus showing that associations are necessary in order for the three elements to  

Due to the far reaching involvement sustainability requires. It is evident collaborations are needed as the three models cannot exist in pure form because markets everywhere have already developed in co-operation with the government, voluntary sector and even wider society.