Chris Tuppen has an intriguing article in the Guardian today, discussing how companies decide which sustainability issues are most material to their businesses. He ends up asking this question:
"Where there is a great deal of divergence between a company and stakeholder views, does it mean these companies are out of touch with their stakeholders, or is it that they have too many different types of stakeholder to be in tune with all of them?"
He suggests the answer lies in truly integrating sustainability into business strategy, with better and more effective reporting to follow.
Or, to look at it more systematically, this points to a much bigger--and more awkward--question. Most of the world's most profitable corporations fit into Tuppen's second potential state--because their supply chains stretch all the way around the world, they have far too many different types of stakeholders.
So couldn't you say some corporations are simply too big to be sustainable?