Corporate sustainability is often defined as the ability of a business to make a profit and maintain their operations in a way that does not cause harm in the present or future ethically or in a way that does not harm people or the environment. Corporate sustainability is also called "corporate responsibility," or labeled with the acronyms ESG (environmental and social governance) or SRI (socially responsible investing).
Discussions of corporate sustainability often focus on three topics that are often defined as the "three pillars" of corporate sustainability. Those three pillars are:
Environmental responsibility is generally defined as an obligation of companies to reduce their carbon footprint in their business process, and lessening if not eliminating any damage their business inflicts on the environment.
Social responsibility is generally defined as the obligation of companies to treat their employees fairly and ethically, and to offer support to communities through donations and charitable programs.
Economic responsibility is generally defined as the obligation of companies to conduct their business ethically, through such actions as proper governance and transparent documentation of their business practices.
The three pillars are also sometimes defined as the triple bottom line of people, profits, and the environment.