Trends in Asian Corporate Sustainability Management

Discussion Paper

At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), "changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production" was determined to be the key task for the future. The prospective direction of corporate environmental conservation activities is an important factor in solving global environmental issues-corporations' roles as producers and consumers are critical in the market economy. It is quite promising that many companies will be shifting to corporate sustainability management (CSM), which will enable the realisation of a balance between the market economy and environmental conservation.
The three major targets of CSM are part of what is called the "triple bottom line." While sustainability indicates the ideal way to operate the socio-economy, the triple bottom line is a term perceived from the corporation's point of view and places importance on achieving three targets simultaneously: environmental, social, and economic values. Sustainable development is often explained as development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. On the other hand, CSM is interpreted as an indispensable management concept for corporations to make themselves sustainable by contributing to the socio-economy.
In order for companies to achieve successful transformation financially, environmentally, and socially, they need to be fairly evaluated by the market. Regulations perform an important role as policy measures in forming and transforming the market framework. In addition, some other kinds of incentive mechanisms need to be created by economic entities to promote voluntary changes, which are the key to successful economic transformation. To accomplish this objective, it is essential that companies acquire management tools that employ the CSM point of view. Recently, voluntary agreements (e.g., between governments and corporations) have been a major topic of discussion regarding the voluntary activities of corporations. In this paper, the author intends to focus on the more positive activities of corporations that perceive environmental conservation as an important part of their corporate strategy.

1. Background: Concept of Corporate Sustainability Management (CSM)
2. Development of CSM in Asia
3. National and Local Responses to CSM
4. Challenges