Corporate sustainability: What it could mean for arms control, climate change, and biosecurity

Beyond compliance: Integrating non-proliferation into corporate sustainability

From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 

Corporate sustainability initiatives – commonly known for reducing accidents in the workplace and making businesses greener – may seem an unlikely deterrent to organizations bent on terror. But experts suggest that a tightly controlled supply chain is key to preventing weapon materials getting into the wrong hands. This paper takes a fresh look at corporate sustainability in a wider, more unconventional context, with authors exploring the topics of nuclear proliferation, biosecurity, and climate change.

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Proliferators continue to seek dual-use commodities that can be exploited to create weapons of mass destruction, and the private sector has a critical role to play in guarding against this threat. Corporate sustainability, which helps firms and outside stakeholders monitor the impacts of business operations, has emerged as a framework for engagement with industry on its nonproliferation responsibilities. However, the existing literature has not considered how to integrate nonproliferation into the current infrastructure of corporate sustainability, particularly into voluntary reporting standards or socially responsible investment analysis. These tools are essential market mechanisms that incentivize superior behavior on other challenges such as environmentally responsible management, respect for human rights, and fair labor practices. The authors outline the history of corporate sustainability and argue that nonproliferation should be considered a sustainability issue. They propose a nonproliferation pledge and a series of nonproliferation indicators as potential first steps that could build awareness and distinguish between firms based on how successful they are at meeting nonproliferation goals.

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Article details
Kurzrok, A., & Hund, G. (2013). Beyond compliance: Integrating nonproliferation into corporate sustainability Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 69 (3), 31-42 DOI: 10.1177/0096340213485946

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