Never Forget Compliance
When I put together my model of the business case for sustainability (below), I um’d and ahh’d for a long time whether to include “compliance” in the model. My argument for putting it in is that compliance underpins the whole rest of the pyramid – if you miss compliance, it doesn’t matter how well everything else goes, the whole pyramid will collapse. With BP’s share value plummeting and Union Carbide staff getting jail sentences for the 1984 Bhopal disaster, I’m now glad I put it in there.
Going “beyond compliance” does not mean ignoring compliance issues. It can mean insulating a business from certain compliance issues by, say, eliminating toxic materials from production processes. As legislation moves from limiting the worst instances (eg Bhopal, Gulf of Mexico) to driving all businesses towards a greener future (eg CRC, WEEE), everyone is in the net. I got a nice quote from Paula Widdowson of Northern Foods in an interview for my forthcoming second book, The Green Executive: “Legislation will never lead you, but it will push you.”
So the lesson is: “never forget compliance”.