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Business Practices and Sustainability

In our ever-changing world, innovation is one of the most important processes to exist. Nowadays, people seek changes that would bring the largest amount of value to individuals, organizations, and the environment. It is crucial for one to take into consideration the business practices of today’s companies. In his paper on sustainability, the executive of Unilever, Patrick Cescau, explains the core goals a progressive company can and should achieve with their work. Before reading this piece, I did not consider that such business practices could bring company prosperity and success if the proper balance was achieved in their implementation. I considered them to be only performed for public benefit at the expense of profit. In this essay, I will attempt to summarize Cescau’s work and its general messages, while also noting the impact of the work on my experiences and thoughts.

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At the beginning of the paper, Cescau identifies the changes in the business landscape and proposes that for a company to be successful it should strive to innovate and develop. Major companies, he states, are held accountable by the public, and business strategies are often judged based on their community benefits (Cescau, n.d.). This arrangement forces the corporations to put more thought into their approaches and try to better their areas of influence in varying ways. Cescau, n.d. proposes that corporations should promote economic and social development, sustainability to meet the demands of their management and the public. He states that “big social and environmental challenges of our age, once seen as obstacles … have become opportunities for innovation and business development” (Cescau, n.d.). The ideas proposed are beneficial to communal and corporate development at the same time.

Further examining the ways of innovation requires an example. After explaining the reasoning behind his ideas, Cescau further elaborates on how his affiliated company, Unilever, manages to succeed with these goals (Cescau, n.d.). The development of the economy helps to create more jobs, reduce poverty, and to promote the circulation of money in the local areas (Cescau, n.d.). Innovations come in the form of introducing new ways of self-fulfillment and self-realization, as well as promoting various programs to an existing community at all levels of influence. The sustainability aspect covers the social, ecological, and economic considerations of the business, allowing it to thrive and prosper for a prolonged amount of time while taking into account its impact on the afflicted areas. The combination of these three general concerns is what allows corporations to take responsibility for their actions and promote business growth. The text makes it clear for me that the policies Unilever enforces strike a general balance between making a profit for the company and creating opportunities for others.

In conclusion, Patrick Cescau’s work is a great demonstration of sustainable business practices implemented into corporate action with a clear application in mind. By examining and summarizing this work, I have gained a better understanding of the values and goals of big progressive corporations. Moving forward, I now have the ability to critically think about the impact large corporate entities have on their areas of influence and determine whether I find it acceptable to support them in any way. I had insight into how their influence can effectively be used to promote sustainable practices, and what aspects of corporate management should always be accounted for. Knowing how many big corporations totally disregard similar concerns is alarming to me, and I think that more attention should be brought to companies that blindly use the environment for their financial gain.


Cescau, P. Beyond Corporate Responsibility: Social Innovation and Sustainable Development as Drivers of Business Growth[PDF document].

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