Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Photo of Daniela Senkl with an image of profit charts blended in the background

How can businesses equally prioritize both profit and sustainability?

Often the main focus of investor-owned corporations is to ensure the highest return on capital. However, in order to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, businesses need to balance both profit and sustainable practices.

Accounting professor Daniela Senkl is exploring how corporations can adopt practices from co-operative businesses in order to continue generating economic growth and profit, while still becoming more sustainable.

"Co-operative organizations have the ability to transform our understanding of business from something that is very profit-oriented to something that has a broader understanding of community engagement or environmental aspects."

Senkl's research explores how these co-operative organizations operate and how their operational structure can be applied to investor-owned corporations to transition them towards a more sustainable future. As part of that research, Senkl focuses on how financial reporting can shed light on a company's true societal impact.

"There is an integrated reporting framework that was initially created to allow us to not only account for financial capital, but also for natural capital, human resource capital, intellectual capital, and so on. The problem is that if we still have the mindset that what we care about is only economic benefits, then all of these sustainable initiatives might be limited towards the financial bottom line."

Her research also guides accounting academics at Lang, helping to teach students to think beyond profit to realize the true impact a business can have on society.


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