it, as is Nike. So is Ford, GM, Dow Chemical, BP, International
Paper, BASF, Coca Cola, Visteon, Toyota and UPS. These are just
a few of the many diverse, global companies whose names immediately
come to mind.
What these companies share is a mutual desire to transform their
mega-corporations into models of sustainability. The advancements
being made are due, in part, not only because of the vision of the
chief executives who are leading these companies onward, but also
because of the collective efforts of tens of thousands of employees
who also recognize the significanceand potentialof each
The challenge of sustainable growth is not a philosophical
issue. It is a nuts-and-bolts business reality, noted Chad
Holliday, chairman and CEO of DuPont in a speech he made last year
to the Chicago Executives Club. We made it the primary objective
of our company because we believe sustainable growth will be the
common denominator of successful global companies in the 21st century.
Many parties from both the private and public sector that are involved
in the sustainable development arena are currently in the midst
of preparations for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development
to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. They wonder, as does UN
secretary-general Kofi Annan, whether the summit can produce an
ambitious, but achievable program of practical steps to improve
the lives of all human beings while protecting the global environment.
The issue, he says, is not environment versus development or ecology
versus economy. Contrary to popular beliefs, we can integrate
the two, he notes. In fact, he adds, he believes that, In
Johannesburg, we will have a chance to catch up. Together we will
need to find our way toward a greater sense of mutual responsibility.
Together, we will need to build a new ethic of global stewardship.
Together we can and must write a new and hopeful chapter in naturaland
As the business reality that Holliday cited in his speech increasingly
finds a more secure and permanent home in corporations here and
abroad, perhaps then we will see the multitudinous results that
come when accomplishments are both plentiful and extensive. Companies
like those listed above will help write not just a new chapter in
history, but a whole new epic brimming with real-life narratives
of what global stewardship is truly all about.
Our final score cards will not be determined by talks in great
halls, but by real results measured both in small steps and in major
leaps, Holliday said that day in Chicago. Results that
our shareholders and our customers valueand which help societies
around the world prosperwill be the measure of our success.
And, in the end, the results from which history will judge us all.