Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Sustainability Efforts

Record Number of Companies Commit To Sustainability Efforts

Many companies have spoken about the triple bottom line of business for years. In addition to profits, businesses leaders have supported the need for social responsibility and environmental sustainability efforts.

But are they practicing what they preach?

Corporate Sustainability Efforts

A new report from Ceres indicates that they are backing up words with deeds. Many of the 600 publicly traded companies surveyed in the report are “positioned to address critical sustainability issues such as climate change, water pollution and scarcity and human rights abuses,” the report states.

Record Number of Companies Commit To Sustainability Efforts

Boston-based Ceres is a nonprofit company that works with investors and businesses to foster leadership in sustainability. The company’s mission is to build relationships with influential business leaders that will drive sustainability efforts.

Issues the company addresses include climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses.

 

The Report’s Findings

The report is the third annual report the company has done. They measure progress on sustainability issues against the “Ceres Roadmap To Sustainability,” a report that provides companies guidance in their efforts.

Ceres surveyed 600 companies to produce the report. The following are among the report’s findings.

  • 31% of all companies now integrate sustainability into the company charter
  • 65% of all companies now have a senior-level executive who is charged with overseeing sustainability issues
  • 8% tie pay for executives with meeting sustainability goals – still a small number, but a big increase from 3% in 2014
  • 51% report risks associated with climate change in their 10-K public filings
  • 64% have commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • 32% have committed to increasing use of renewable energy

Accountability

While the report shows marked improvement in sustainability efforts, there is plenty of room for improvement.

For example, while 64% have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, only 9% have adapted time-restricted, specific goals as set out in the Ceres roadmap. Similarly, while 32% are committed to using more renewable energy, only 5% have adopted the goals laid out by Ceres.

The report shows that having a person directly accountable for sustainability efforts drives success. Of the companies that have set firm time deadlines for company-wide reduction of greenhouse gases, 98% hold senior executives accountable for meeting these goals.

Also, while there has been an increase in the number of companies who have adopted formal human rights protections for direct employees of the company, it’s still less than half the companies surveyed (49%).

Another 69% have policies protecting the rights of workers all along the company’s supply chain, with 76% expressly prohibiting the use of forced labor or child labor.

Clearly, Ceres – and those who back sustainability efforts – won’t be satisfied until all the above numbers reach 100%. However, big leaps have been made in just the past several years, indicating that large companies with global operations increasingly understand that protecting the environment and human rights is as important as producing profits.


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