Corporate Sustainability: A Progress Report

By KPMG and The Economist
New York, NY (April 18, 2011)- KPMG’s Climate Change & Sustainability Services practice and The Economist Intelligence Unit uncover how corporate sustainability is becoming a core consideration for successful businesses around the world. The report provides executive insights and highlights the importance of sustainability in today’s business environment. It delves into real-world examples of how companies are demonstrating the value of environmental sustainability in their financial results.

For the purposes of this report, corporate sustainability is defined as: “adopting business strategies that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while sustaining the resources, both human and natural, that will be needed in the future.”
This report examines the impact of sustainability on business practices, the role that government is playing, how firms are reporting on this issue and the challenges ahead. Some of the reports key findings include:
* Sustainability has moved up the corporate agenda over the past three years. Sixty-two percent of companies surveyed have a strategy for corporate sustainability, up from just over fifty percent in February 2008.
* Sustainability’s main drivers are changing towards the environmental side, in particular with regard to resource and energy efficiency. Remaining key drivers are regulatory requirements, brand enhancement, risk management and cost reduction.
* Sustainability is being viewed as a source of innovation and new growth. Forty-four percent of executives agree sustainability is a source of innovation and 39% see t as a source of new business opportunities.
* Firms are increasing measuring and reporting their sustainability performance. Thirty-six percent of companies interviewed have issued at least one public report on sustainability.
* Business wants a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Sixty-seven percent of executives believe a new set of rules to replace those that will end in 2012 is “very important” or “critical.” The field of sustainability is unusual in that corporate lobbying is weighted toward tighter rules, even though this may result in higher costs.
Seven key steps to implement and benefit from corporate sustainability:
* Use scenario planning to identify potential risks or new opportunities
* Set ambitious targets and lead by examples
* Start measuring environmental inputs and productivity across your business
* Tap into employee engagement, internally and across business partners
* Develop internal lessons into external products and services
* Explore other benefits that can be derived from action on sustainability
* Benchmark and report progress
Related Resource:
Corporate Sustainability: A Progress Report 2011