Assessment ONE – Case Study and Assignments

  • Category:
    Business
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
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    4
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АSSЕSSMЕNT ОNЕ 13

Аssеssmеnt ОNЕ

Table of Contents

3Executive Summary

4Introduction

5Discussion

51. What is sustainability? Is the notion of sustainability relevant to business and accounting? Justify your answer.

72. Is the notion of sustainability relevant to the pastoral industry in which Paraway operates? Justify your answer.

93. What are the specific sustainability issues that Paraway is facing? Justify your answer.

104. If sustainability is relevant to Paraway, how might Paraway embrace sustainability in its operations? Justify your recommendations.

10Conclusion

12List of References

Executive Summary

Sustainability is a positive investment for any organization and it should therefore be adopted without hesitation. The fact that sustainability is founded on the basic principles of economic development, social development and environmental protection means that it is an important aspect since it allows for the well-being of the present as well as the future generations. Paraway is a large-scale company in the pastoral industry whereby sustainability is a major issue as a result of being dependent on the natural resources such as land and water for the livestock. Although the company has not been deeply involved in sustainability efforts, it has come to the management’s attention that there is need to reconsider this as a core function of the business. This will allow the business to attain various benefits such as loyalty from customers.

Sustainability is relevant to accounting and business as it is a form of transparency and accountability as operations of an organization are carried out in compliance with agreed standards and in fulfilment of societal expectations. It is also relevant to the pastoral industry and Paraway Company in particular as a result of the nature of the operations involved and the influence they have on the environment. Business organizations face various challenges in their pursuit of sustainability and they therefore need to invest in effective strategies to overcome the challenges, embrace the sustainability initiatives and maintain them. The long term benefits associated with sustainability should be the main focus rather that the initial costs incurred in implementing the initiatives.

Assessment one

Introduction

In today’s business world, sustainability is not a new aspect but one that has been greatly advocated for as a result of the benefits associated with it. For this reason, businesses in different fields and industries are adopting different measures of sustainability for various reasons such as compliance. According to Epstein, Buhovac and Yuthas (2010, p. 41), sustainability is based on the principle that everything that the population needs for survival as well as general well-being depends on the natural environment. For this reason, as a way of pursuing sustainability, it is essential for individuals and organizations to not only create but also maintain the conditions under which people and nature can coexist in productive harmony. This is helpful for both the present and future generations, with regard to social, economic and other requirements. The three major pillars of sustainability are the society, economy and environment. Paraway is a large scale pastoral company that operates many cattle and sheep enterprises in different parts of Australia. It holding is more than 4.4 million hectares, an aspect that translates that it has great influence when it comes to the three main pillars of sustainability as stated above (Paraway Pastoral Co., 2013).

This piece of paper aims at getting a deeper understanding on sustainability especially with respect to the pastoral industry. It will examine the concept of sustainability and different aspects associated with it, with specific focus being on the Paraway Company. Some of the specific areas around which the discussion will revolve include the meaning of sustainability and its relevance to business and accounting. The relevance of sustainability to the pastoral industry in which Paraway operates will also be examined. In addition, the specific sustainability issues that Paraway is facing and the manner in which the company may embrace sustainability in its operations will be discussed.

Some of the limitations of the study include; time limit for conducting the research and limited resources to do the same. On the part of assumptions, it is assumed that businesses in the pastoral industry are affected in the same manner as it is the case of Paraway. This brings an aspect of generalization.

Discussion (addressing CEO’s requirements)

In this section of the paper, various CEO requirements will be evaluated in detail, especially as they pertain to Paraway and the entire pastoral industry.

1. What is sustainability? Is the notion of sustainability relevant to business and accounting? Justify your answer.

Sustainability can be defined as the need to come up with sustainable models that are required for both the human race and the Earth or nature to survive without difficulties (Haugh and Talwar, A., 2010, p. 389). It entails the enhancement of human well being, ecological integrity as well as social justice for the current generation. However, this is not an easy task and is a challenge to the whole aspect of sustainability. Sustainability is a balancing act whereby the needs of the present generation are supposed to be met while at the same time ensuring that the well-being of future generations is not compromised. Social equity for all generations should be upheld while at the same time safeguarding the available life-supporting ecosystems (Lankester, 2013, p. 187). The pillars of sustainability are economic development, social development and environmental protection. Finkbeiner, Schau, Lehmann and Traverso (2010, p. 3311) assert that some of the main goals of sustainability include ending hunger and poverty, achieving gender equality, and sustainable economic growth among others.

The natural environment is the main element when it comes to sustainability issues. This is more so since everything that is needed for survival and well-being of people and other living organisms depends on the natural environment. In pursuit of sustainability, an organization such as Paraway should create and maintain conditions that allow people and nature to coexist in productive harmony. This will allow for the well-being of the present as well as future generations, by fulfilling economic, social and other needs of the generations.

According to Lankester (2013, p. 192), sustainability is now a priority interest for most business organizations and as such, it acts as a guiding influence for their processes and activities. This explains why the Paraway’s CEO has observed the emerging and rising trend of discussion on the issue of sustainability from companies. Paraway’s competitors have also been involved in adopting and implementing sustainability practices and frameworks and hence the need for the company to be conversant with the concept and be involved as a way of maintaining its competitive advantage in the competitive business environment.

Today, the social expectations with respect to business operations are changing. People are more aware of the rights that businesses that operate around them should be in a position to offer to them. This can be understood even with regard to corporate social responsibility, whereby sustainability is part of it. Business organizations are expected to give back to the society by engaging in various activities that in one way or the other enhance the community’s social and economic status. Taking care of the environment is for example one of the sustainability concerns and an organization such as Paraway is expected to conserve the environment by controlling aspects such as pollution, for the sake of the present as well as future generations. Another good example is the production of sustainability reports to the external stakeholders as a sign of accountability.

To a great extent, the notion of sustainability is relevant to business and accounting. Accounting, accountability and sustainability go hand in hand. Being involved in effective accounting practices such as making sustainability reports available to external stakeholders allows for accountability while engaging in sustainability efforts is a good step towards maintaining accountability. Sustainability accounting involves disclosing the non-financial information on the performance of a company to external parties for instance the stakeholders and authorities (Burritt and Schaltegger, 2010, p. 832). The processes and procedures in questions are those that directly impact on the organization’s economic performance, the environment and the society at large. Accounting allows for the identification of benefits and impacts of sustainable practices and provides guidelines on sustainable management. It also aid in evaluating sustainable management and offer an account of sustainability performance of a company. Sustainability accounting is essential to business firms as it allows them to become more sustainable for instance through corporate sustainability reporting (Bebbington, Unerman and O’Dwyer, 2014, p.12). Transparency in documentation and reporting enhance accountability, which in turn allow for sustainability.

2. Is the notion of sustainability relevant to the pastoral industry in which Paraway operates? Justify your answer.

The notion of sustainability is extremely relevant to the pastoral industry in which Paraway operates. The pastoralism field entails the traditional production system for livestock and livestock products. Various factors call for sustainability of the industry. Some of the challenges to sustainability in the pastoralist industry include the increased demand for meat which put pressure on the natural resources especially the grazing lands. Adverse climatic conditions are also a danger. It is an industry that exists in Australia and most parts of the world. In Australia, the pastoral industry make up a considerable part of the economy and it therefore has significant impacts on the three pillars of sustainability; social, economic and environmental requirements (Dong, et al. 2011, p.10). If proper conservation and sustainability measures are not taken in time then the industry will fail and affect the population negatively.

Pastoralist practices are environmental-extensive and require large pieces of land and other natural resources for it to survive and succeed. At the same time, there is a danger of overexploitation or improper use of the resources. This calls for effective management practices that allow for sustainability to avoid impacts such as extinction, which in turn could have negative effects not only to the present but also the future generations (Krätli, Huelsebusch, Brooks and Kaufmann, 2013, p. 46).

The realization of the importance of sustainability can be seen through various perspectives. For instance, Landcare is a community movement that is geared towards environmental and agriculture management through local community groups such as junior Landcare for the young people. The movement promotes a more sustainable approach to environmental management. The movement aims at making all Australians actively involved in caring for the environment especially with regard to land and water (Landcare Australia, 2015).

Rangelands program in Western Australia is also worth noting. The program is dedicated to sustainable pastoralism as well as achieving biodiversity benefits. The program work with producers to enhance practices that enhance productivity, produce economic returns and sustain the natural resource base. Pastoralists are encouraged to consider various opportunities that in one way or the other enhance sustainability (Rangelands NRM, 2017). Regional and global initiatives on pastoralism sustainability are essential since the practice is associated with misconceptions that do not support policies in line with sustainable land management and hence pastoral poverty.

One of the notable competitors of Paraway is S. Kidman & Co. This company is sustainability-conscious and aims at enhancing all areas of the organization in relation to the environment. It has various conservation initiatives such as minimizing wastage, excluding livestock from high conversation habitats, rehabilitating overgrazed areas and protecting endangered species among others (S. Kidman & Co.). This is enough reason why Paraway should also consider being actively involved in sustainability initiatives for its own benefit as well as that of the society at large.

3. What are the specific sustainability issues that Paraway is facing? Justify your answer.

As discussed above, it is apparent that sustainability is essential for the pastoral industry in general as well as for Paraway Company in particular. This is more so because maintaining sustainability is linked to many benefits for the organization and the wider community. Sustainability is in line with the societal expectations as well as compliance for instance through corporate social responsibility. There are various sustainability issues that a company may face.

The primary objective of Paraway is to operate a sustainable pastoral business with an aim of attaining better long term returns while at the same time managing short term risks. To facilitate this, the operations of the company are based on key values such as accountability, opportunity and integrity (Paraway Pastoral Co., 2013).

The fact that the CEO is concerned about sustainability and has little knowledge about it is a clear indication that there is something that ought to be done in this area by the company as part of compliance and fulfilment of societal expectations. Some of the specific sustainability issues that Paraway may be facing include the following. Public policy and climate change. There is also the need to collaborate with stakeholders for systemic change aimed at sustainability. Effective measuring and reporting sustainability could also be an issue for Paraway. Coming up with a long term orientation and sustaining sustainability programs could also be a challenge since it requires great commitment (Rolfe and Gregg, 2015).

All is not lost for Paraway and since the company has some strong points and can pursue opportunities aimed at improving its status with respect to sustainability. Giving priority to sustainability initiatives and investing adequately on them is a positive step towards attaining sustainability and being at par with the competitors.

4. If sustainability is relevant to Paraway, how might Paraway embrace sustainability in its operations? Justify your recommendations.

There is no doubt that sustainability is relevant to Paraway. This is more so since the significance of sustainability now extends beyond environmental issues. The need to operate responsibly is now a fundamental aspect of strategy and operations for any organizations.

Some of the ways through which Paraway may embrace sustainability in its operations is engaging in research on the concept of sustainability especially with regard to public policy and climate change so as to be aware of the impact and hence act accordingly when need be. Collaborating with stakeholders such as the competitors in the industry could also go a long way in embracing sustainability at Paraway. This is more so since most sustainability issues necessitate systemic change, which in turn need collaboration among stakeholders. Business organizations should therefore work together with competitors and involved stakeholders as a way of managing sustainability challenges. With regard to the issue of measuring and reporting sustainability, Paraway should invest in professional staff who may streamline reporting to avoid redundancy and inconsistencies hence yielding a positive impact (Ayantunde, De Leeuw, Turner and Said, 2011, p. 33). For long term orientation and sustaining sustainability programs, there is need for Paraway to treat sustainainabiliyy as a core business function and give it all the attention it needs.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is clear that the concept of sustainability is quite wide and one that has attracted a lot of attention in business organizations operating in various industries. Despite the fact that observing and maintaining sustainability could be viewed as an expensive venture on the part of an organization, it is beneficial to the company and the community both in the present and future eras. For this reason, it is a positive aspect that companies in various industries should strive to adopt. The notion of sustainability is relevant to almost all sectors of the economy and the pastoral industry is not an exception. Some of the sustainability issues faced by Paraway include; Public policy and climate change, collaborating with stakeholders, measuring and reporting sustainability, and sustaining sustainability programs. Sustainability can be embraced by an organization such as Paraway by strategically rethinking about these challenges and investing in getting the best out of them. Despite the fact that sustainability maybe costly in the short term, it is beneficial in the long run. For this reason, organizations should focus on the long term benefits and work towards achieving them.

References

Ayantunde, A.A., De Leeuw, J., Turner, M.D. and Said, M., 2011. Challenges of assessing the sustainability of (agro)-pastoral systems. Livestock Science, 139(1), pp.30-43.

Bebbington, J., Unerman, J. and O’Dwyer, B., 2014. Sustainability accounting and accountability. New York: Routledge.

Burritt, R.L. and Schaltegger, S., 2010. Sustainability accounting and reporting: fad or trend?. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 23(7), pp.829-846.

Dong, S., et al. 2011. Vulnerability of worldwide pastoralism to global changes and interdisciplinary strategies for sustainable pastoralism. Ecology and Society, 16(2).

Epstein, M.J., Buhovac, A.R. and Yuthas, K., 2010. Implementing sustainability: The role of leadership and organizational culture. Strategic Finance, 91(10), p.41.

Finkbeiner, M., Schau, E.M., Lehmann, A. and Traverso, M., 2010. Towards life cycle sustainability assessment. Sustainability, 2(10), pp.3309-3322.

Haugh, H.M. and Talwar, A., 2010. How do corporations embed sustainability across the organization?. Academy of Management learning & education, 9(3), pp.384-396.

Krätli, S., Huelsebusch, C., Brooks, S. and Kaufmann, B., 2013. Pastoralism: A critical asset for food security under global climate change. Animal frontiers, 3(1), pp.42-50.

Landcare Australia, 2015. Landcare Australia. Available [Online] from https://landcareaustralia.org.au/landcare-get-involved/ [Accessed 20 March 2017]

Lankester, A.J., 2013. Conceptual and operational understanding of learning for sustainability: A case study of the beef industry in north-eastern Australia. Journal of environmental management, 119, pp.182-193.

Paraway Pastoral Co., 2013. About Paraway. Available [Online] from http://www.parawaypastoral.com/about/ [Accessed 20 March 2017]

Rangelands NRM, 2017. Sustainable Pastoralism. Available [Online] from http://www.rangelandswa.com.au/851/sustainable-pastoralism[Accessed 20 March 2017]

Rolfe, J. and Gregg, D., 2015. Factors affecting adoption of improved management practices in the pastoral industry in Great Barrier Reef catchments. Journal of environmental management, 157, pp.182-193.

S. Kidman & Co., 2017. Managing the Environment. Available [Online] from http://www.kidman.com.au/environment/ [Accessed 20 March 2017]