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Message from the chairman of the social, ethics and sustainability committee

Valli Moosa  
Valli Moosa
Chairman: Social, ethics
and sustainability

Companies do not only have the responsibility to be profitable. They also have a responsibility to make a positive impact on society and the environment.

Businesses that are willing to self-regulate and embrace the true spirit of triple-bottom line sustainability will gain a powerful competitive edge and emerge as industry leaders of tomorrow. By balancing the demand for shareholder profit with the need to invest responsibly in people and the planet, these companies are discovering that properly integrated sustainability practices are no longer a sideline issue but can contribute meaningfully to the achievement of financial objectives.

There are many examples of businesses embracing sustainability, and the Imperial group is no exception. A focus on energy efficiency can reduce operational costs, investment in people development secures a robust skills pipeline, community upliftment broadens the customer base by increasing the number of economically active people, and the search for more environmentally friendly ways of doing business can open up exciting business opportunities in delivering ‘green’ products and services to a world that is increasingly environmentally aware. The bottom line is that integrated sustainability makes good business sense.

I am pleased to see that Imperial continues to make progress on this journey. As an industry leader with substantial reach across geographies, business sectors and into the lives of consumers, the company has a unique opportunity to make a meaningful difference to its employees, the natural environment and the communities in which it operates. It has embraced this opportunity with a deep sense of its responsibility to society, but also with its characteristic entrepreneurial zeal. Its many investments in people, communities and environmental initiatives are strategically aligned and serve its business bottom-line objectives. They stand as an example of how sustainability practices can deliver a ‘triple win’, providing value for the business, its shareholders and stakeholders from the rest of society.

The sustainability foundations that businesses build today will not only determine their ability to be profitable tomorrow, but will provide them with an advantage that will set them apart in an increasingly competitive global business environment. By earning the trust and confidence of all stakeholders – from investors and shareholders to employees, customers, suppliers and civil society – they will secure their ‘licence to operate’ in a world where the demands for business integrity, ethics, responsibility and social conscience can no longer be ignored.

Valli Moosa
Chairman: Social, ethics and sustainability committee

21 August 2012


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