The Sustainability Imperative

As organizations struggle to define a strategy that balances purpose and profit, opportunities are increasingly emerging to take the lead in sustainability initiatives. Front-line advances in areas such as net-zero emissions, AI-powered solutions for the underserved, precision agriculture, digital healthcare, and more are delivering business benefits, while simultaneously contributing to the realization of the UN’s 17 SDGs. We provide the expert thinking, debate, and guidance to help your organization reposition and transform in the era of sustainability.

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Ghulam Sorwar describes how bonds and loans, government financing, capital markets, and fintech can impart a solution for an effective circular economy. He acknowledges the need to consider complexities and says planning is a paramount objective in these activities; he then proposes coordinated local initiatives as an important way forward.
Henning Wilts and Virginia Pillmann recommend plastic credits as a financing mechanism for investment in circular plastic systems. The need for collaboration between government (policy), industry, and society (consumers) is clear when it comes to promoting plastic credits. The article takes us to a developing region of the world via case studies about three Indian cities. Wilts and Pillmann discuss the conditions that can support plastic credit programs without undermining incentives for waste prevention and extended producer responsibility in India and present lessons for a variety of other contexts.
Ani Melkonyan-Gottschalk, Denis Daus, Lara Johannsdottir, and Daniel Goldmann introduce a framework in which physical infrastructure design, regional development strategies, and supply chain governance take place across society, industry, science, and policy. Best practices from around the world are showcased, highlighting places where society, industry, science, and policy have come together in multistakeholder partnerships to facilitate circular transformations. The authors draw attention to the role of finance and investment in the success of these initiatives.
Tien-Shih Hsieh and Zhihong Wang identify new sources of data and emerging technology that can be deployed to offer a more comprehensive understanding of circular investments and performance. The authors provide insights into how waste management companies and manufacturers can use the Internet of Things and blockchain to capture real-time data. The digital tools introduced can store data in a transparent manner to support decision-making and corporate governance. The authors also consider how to interpret news and social media data using sentiment analysis and how to employ artificial intelligence to analyze large amounts of ESG data in real time to inform investment decisions.
Subhasis Ray and Ritesh Kumar Dubey say organizations face several challenges when adapting circular accounting systems, including determining the traceability of products and materials, verifying the value of products and materials, recognizing revenue, and disclosing circular performance. Ray and Dubey say companies can address accounting complexities of the circular economy through lifecycle assessment, impact accounting, movement-based accounting, and new accounting standards. These approaches help drive activities that lead to successful organizational investment in CE and sustainability initiatives.
This issue of Amplify explores how businesses and public entities can manage investments in the circular economy in light of complex concerns that overlap many dimensions of social, technological, environmental, and economic systems.
Through a systematic literature review, Lihua Sun and Zhuowen Chen present a broad perspective of CE investment. Their review reveals six key aspects of CE investments: government, financial institutions and instruments, cooperation and collaboration, corporate governance, technology, and assessment tools.
In this Advisor, Sara Cook of the Wildlife Habitat Council offers imperatives for aligning corporate ambitions with place-based action that is both stakeholder-informed and fully resourced.