Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Business Community is Moving Forward with Sustainability

The business community is moving forward with sustainability despite the weak economy. According to the findings of the fourth annual “BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2012,”the global business community has made progress on 14 key sustainability challenges over the past 20 years. For the second year in a row, 62 percent of respondents identified the integration of sustainability into core business operations as the most important leadership challenge for business today.

The poll surveyed more than 500 business leaders from BSR’s global network of nearly 300 member companies. The survey asked executives to evaluate the past and likely future progress on 14 key sustainability challenges.

“The survey reinforces our view that business has made great strides to integrate sustainability into their activities, and that much more progress is required for truly sustainable outcomes,” said BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer.

One of the chief areas of progress involves the issue of reporting, 55 percent said they either currently produce or will soon produce reports that integrate financial and sustainability data. 

Considering the next 20 years, respondents rated sustainability reporting, water, and responsible supply chains as the areas in which business will likely make the most progress. In contrast, respondents were least optimistic about future progress being made in public policy, governance, and employee treatment.

According to the poll respondents indicated that the most progress has been made in health and safety, sustainability reporting, and community/social investment. It shows that corporate practitioners believe the least progress has been made in sustainable consumption, public policy, and water. Respondents indicated that that business will make strides on water related issues in the next 20 years. However, other issues—including sustainable consumption and public policy—will remain ongoing challenges.

Cramer also stated that the survey “underlines the essential need for renewed business leadership to mobilize and engage consumers, investors, and governments to enable sustainable prosperity for all. Integrating sustainability into business operations and throughout the value chain is a necessary step in accelerating progress, and we work with business leaders to achieve exactly that outcome,” said Cramer. “But that alone won’t get the job done. It’s also important to develop powerful partnerships with policymakers, civil society, and industry partners to create change at the scale it’s needed.”

Chris Coulter, GlobeScan President, added: “This survey of corporate sustainability practitioners has identified some critical gaps in the sustainability agenda in the coming decades. Long-term success for global business is predicated on building societal trust, accelerating integration across the enterprise, and exerting greater leadership in key areas—sustainable consumption, public policy, and climate change—that, if not attended to, will disrupt long-term growth opportunities.”

A total of 42 percent of respondents identified climate change as the top climate challenge for business as working effectively with operational units and throughout the value chain to achieve solutions. The second biggest challenge is establishing a strategy that achieves the greatest impact (29 percent).

To see the complete report click here.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Fregard Mosform said...

I guess you have concerned groups and forward-thinking business consultants to thank for this trend. With people seeing how all their actions affect the environment, they've started to shift towards being a little more environment-friendly with their decisions.

Kristin Hernandez said...

Well that is definitely a good news! I'm happy that there are those people still have an optimistic mind even though they knew that there is an existing weak economy.