As CSR and sustainability have shifted from the margins to the mainstream in recent years, they’ve become even more complex and controversial topics. At Gibbs & Soell’s Sense and Sustainability Summit on Tuesday in New York, CSR advisors and media specialists tackled some of the key issues.
Even the terminology and scope of these areas was up for discussion. The panelists favored a more holistic definition not limited to environmental and philanthropic initiatives. Laura Gitman, managing director at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), noted that traditional metrics are no longer enough and that ESG (environmental, social and governance) indicators should be used. Bryan Walsh, senior editor at TIME magazine, observed, “It’s strange to label sustainability as though it’s a separate part of business.” Diane Brady, senior editor at Bloomberg Businessweek, said she equates sustainability with long-term profitability. Below are other key takeaways.