Corporates Still Slow on Pressing Sustainability Issues - Report
7 May 2014 at 9:32 am
A new report has found that while there are encouraging pockets of sustainability leadership in the U.S. business community, far too many companies are only taking small, incremental steps to address pressing sustainability issues such as climate change and human rights.
The report by Ceres and Sustainalytics Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, evaluates how well 613 of the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies are integrating sustainability into their business systems and decision-making.
“Given the acceleration of environmental and social challenges globally – floods, droughts, and workplace tragedies – most U.S. corporations are not keeping pace with the level of change,” President of the sustainability advocacy group,Ceres Mindy Lubber said.
“Those that step up to the challenge will be best positioned to thrive in the rapidly changing, resource-constrained 21st century economy.”
The report covers nearly 80 percent of the total market capitalisation of all public companies in the US.
It tracks corporate performance against 20 key sustainability metrics including governance, disclosure, greenhouse gas emissions reductions and labor standards. It identifies sustainability trends across eight key sectors, highlighting industry best practices and which companies are leading among their peers.
It also provides aggregate data and online scorecards for companies on each performance area.
Key findings include:
While many companies are taking action to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions, few have set time-bound targets. More than two-thirds of the companies evaluated (438) have activities in place aimed at reducing GHG emissions, but only 35 percent (212) have established time-bound targets for reducing GHG emissions. In terms of renewable energy, 37 percent of companies have implemented a program, while only six percent have quantitative targets to increase renewable energy sourcing.
More companies are setting clear sustainability standards for suppliers. Fifty-eight percent of companies (353) have supplier codes of conduct that address human rights in supply chains, compared to 43 percent in 2012. However, only a third (205 companies) have some activities in place to engage suppliers on sustainability performance issues, up from 27 percent in 2012.
A growing number of companies are incorporating sustainability performance into executive compensation packages. Twenty-four percent of companies (147) link executive compensation to sustainability performance – up from 15 percent in 2012.
“The findings of this report should inspire companies to examine their own progress and identify where they stand on the path to sustainability,” Michael Jantzi, the CEO and Founder of Sustainalytics said.
“This is about more than how companies stack up against their peers – it’s about how innovation is driving performance from the corporate boardroom throughout the entire supply chain.”
Download the full report and view company scorecards at www.ceres.org/scorecards.