An example of this issue for investment recovery departments is the disposal of end-of-life electronics, historically a process filled with companies that broker deals offshore driven by the economics of the deal. Many companies claim to be recyclers, which sounds good, but questionable or exploitive practices abound. In December 2006, a joint investigation by federal agencies exposed the role of companies in Canada as major illegal exporters of hazardous waste to developing countries. Fifty containers loaded with about 500 tons of metal and plastic scrap destined for China and Hong Kong were seized at the Port of Vancouver. On the other hand, conscientious companies assist manufacturers to protect their brand name by ensuring that the asset recovery process meets local and international laws and regulations—and is perceived as being responsible.
There is no industry or sector not affected by the issues which relate to CSR and sustainability. There is also a need to present pragmatic ideas and take actions that can affect social change. Decision-makers should be conscious of how their decisions have a ripple effect across a culture, community or country. Innovators are providing cost-effective, profitable and responsible solutions to meet these needs, and the corporate asset or investment recovery group has a significant opportunity to provide leadership for every department within its organization. The subject of sustainability will continue to drive debate between advocates and detractors. Business should be doing its homework on sustainable practices and having dialogue with its suppliers and customers.
© The Investment Recovery Association