By Farah Hida Sharin

What does it mean to be sustainable? Is it always about environmental concerns? Have governments planned for the future? What does business sustainability actually entail? These questions would yield a variety of responses, and do not exactly have straightforward answers. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, establishes a shared framework for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, both now and in the near future. At its core are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a call to action for countries in the world to work together in a shared global partnership. 

Sustainability is an ephemeral concept shaped and reshaped by the development of ecological models, increased corporate responsibility, the establishment of environmental and land-use policies, the organisation of educational curricula, and the reimagining of governance and democratic goals. To address these needs, discussions about sustainability are attracting significant attention among researchers and industry practitioners to develop the most up-to-date framework to achieve sustainability in a specific field. In response, a growing number of businesses have redesigned environmental strategies to guide and communicate their environmentally friendly vision, direction, and actions; one example being Wal-Mart’s “Sustainability 360 Program”, implemented as part of their new business strategy.

There is a role for us all when it comes to the sustainability of our planet. The International University of Malaya-Wales in collaboration with the ASEAN Accounting Education Workgroup recently launched the ASEAN Future Sustainable Leaders competition.  AFSL aims to create a platform for students from the ASEAN region to come together to showcase their leadership, teamwork and creativity in solving cases related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

It has been said that if you want to change the world – reach out to youth. A-FSL gives our youth the platform they need to exchange knowledge, build networks, and share experiences, perspectives, dreams and passions to promote a sustainable future; a future that brings economic and social growth without compromising our natural resources.

Sustainability does not evolve linearly. It faces many unprecedented and diverse obstacles, with each entity expected to play a critical role in implementing sustainable mechanisms for us to be prepared for the future.

References

  • Naciti, V. (2019). Corporate governance and board of directors: The effect of a board composition on firm sustainability performance. Journal of Cleaner Production, 237, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.117727
  • Paul, B. T. & Patricia, E. N. (2021). Sustainability: What Everyone Needs to Know®. Oxford University Press.
  • The 17 Goals. (2021, June 14), United Nations, https://sdgs.un.org/goals
  • Walmart Inc. (2019). Wal-Mart Environmental, Social, and Governance Report (2019), Walmart Inc. https://corporate.walmart.com/esgreport2019/