The Past 10 Years Have Brought Much Progress in Corporate Sustainability Efforts -- What Does The Future Hold?




The Past 10 Years Have Brought Much Progress in Corporate Sustainability Efforts -- What Does The Future Hold?

We have made tremendous progress over the last 10 years in such areas as the embrace of corporate sustainability, corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, and related approaches by the global corporate sector...and in the continuing adoption of sustainable investment policies and approaches by a widening universe of institutional and individual investors. 

Yes, we do have some headwindscoming to Washington DC with the new administration and its legion of deniers and naysayers that expresses doubt about such critical issues as climate change (and the causes thereof), and about the need for continued vigilance and commitment to stay the course in terms of America's environmental protection policies. 

What do you think the next 10 years will bring?  (Get out the crystal ball, folks!)  A survey by GlobalScan and SustainAbility just released -- 2017 Sustainability Leaders Survey -- was debuted at the recent meeting of Sustainable Brands in Detroit, Michigan.

Top Findings:  Unilever will continue to be seen as the global leader in corporate sustainability.  (We think of Newton's First Law of Motion demonstrated here -- things in motion tend to stay in motion - that is, with vision, discipline, actions taken, continued commitment at the top, as is the case with Unilever and its sustainability journey, over many recent years).

Patagonia is in second position on this, said survey responders.  Then comes Interface (#3), Ikea (#4), Marks & Spencer, and Tesla -- all tied for fifth place. You can access the news release for the survey, and download the slides used for the survey presentations - the links are in our Top Story, courtesy of CR (magazine).

We think Newton's Third Law of Motion will be at work over the next decade.  That is, when one body (a corporate leader in sustainability) exerts a force on a second body (the leader's peers in the industry or sector, or investment competitor), the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude, and opposite in direction. 

That in our interpretation is that the leader's peers will strive to catch up and outperform on their respective sustainability journeys.  Some, in very surprising and innovative ways (the "opposite direction" reference).  That has been happening over the past decade as corporate sustainability leaders keep setting the pace and their peer companies race to catch up and surpass.  Just look at the hockey stick (over the decade) of US headquartered companies embracing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for disclosure and reporting on their sustainability efforts.  CDP annual filings by companies also are dramatically rising.  There is spirited competition to get into the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, and peer indices, in the board rooms and corporate suites of public companies.

And that has been good for everyone -- shareholders and stakeholders alike, and for the general society. Yes, we have some headwinds -- but for a good many stakeholders, the Washington headwinds are good reason to double up on the efforts and prove the sustainability (and climate change) nay-sayers and deniers WRONGHEADED!

What's on your list of things positive in the sustainability arena over the next 10 years?  Share your thoughts with us.

Top Stories This Week...

2017 Sustainability Leaders Survey released at Sustainable Brands 2017
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: CR Magazine - Integrating sustainability values, demonstrating innovation and fostering transparency will be the defining characteristics of leading organizations in the next 10 years, according to the findings of a pre-release of the 2017... 

 

Important Items for Your Attention: Editors' Sustainability Scans - Progress!

Assessing global sustainable packaging challenges
(Monday - May 22, 2017) 
Source: Packworld - In a new report, Smithers Pira explores the hurdles to sustainable packaging growth, which include the complex interaction between products and packaging, and increasing governmental regulations. 

How restaurant operators can implement sustainability programs
(Monday - May 22, 2017) 
Source: Restaurant News - Sustainability, whether sourcing food responsibly or cutting down waste, is top-of-mind for many consumers. National Restaurant Association officials outlined steps operators can take and how to communicate what they’re doing to... 

Sustainable Coffee Challenge: Driving Commitments Across the Coffee Industry
(Tuesday - May 23, 2017) 
Source: Food Tank - The Sustainable Coffee Challenge has recently announced the first four Collective Action Networks that will catalyze the effort to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world. The coalition, assembled by... 

The Secret to Sustainability in Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth
(Tuesday - May 23, 2017) 
Source: mHealth Intelligence - An analysis of a health system's direct-to-consumer telehealth platform over a year's time finds that a digital health service can bring in new patients and add revenues. But some wonder if the platform is improving care or just... 

Detroit names first director of sustainability
(Tuesday - May 23, 2017) 
Source: Crain's Detroit - he city of Detroit has hired Joel Howrani Heeres to lead its new sustainability office to "guide efforts to strengthen the economic, social and environmental well-being of the city's residents, neighborhoods and businesses." 

Sustainability on the Other Side of the Stacks
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: American Libraries - But as sustainability themes and curricula popped up in more and more academic departments, students began using the campus as a living laboratory to test their own ideas.

The Evolution Of Sustainability Education
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - The most fundamental evolution of the field from environmental policy to sustainability management is that our profession is no longer limited to advocates, lobbyists and policy makers, but now includes entrepreneurs, green... 

How We Can Advance Sustainability Despite an Absent EPA
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: Triple Pundit - Despite the Donald Trump administration’s determination to roll back as many environmental protections and regulations as possible, a substantial number of companies are interested in supporting regulations that help protect the... 

Five Sustainable Investing Trends in 2017
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: ETFdb - Founded using basic tenets from the Quaker community, SRI has evolved into a complex animal full of various strategies and indexes. Today’s socially responsible funds tap into a variety of environmental, social and governance... 

Executive Perspective: Monetizing sustainable development
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - For the first time 193 countries have agreed to relatively specific goals for global development in the next 15 years. Those needs can in many cases only be met through business solutions. There is a large business opportunity... 


Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues -- Things to Think About...

CEO Pay Is Rising Twice as Fast as Workers' Income
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: Time Money - The Associated Press reports that American CEOs got an 8.5-percent raise last year, taking in a median of $11.5 million in salary, stock, and other compensation. It's the biggest CEO pay increase in three years. 

Fracking crew shortage may push oil’s biggest bubble to 2018
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: Denver Post - Shale explorers pushing to expand oil production are struggling to find enough fracking crews after thousands of workers were dismissed during the crude rout. 

Fake Journalists and Real Journalists
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: Arnold R. Isaacs, featured commentator - Are David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt journalists? They and their supporters say they are, and that they were practicing "standard undercover journalism techniques," as one of Daleiden's lawyers put it, when they covertly... 

If you want to solve climate change, you need to solve income inequality
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: Think Progress - A new report says that the wider the gap between rich and poor, the more the environment suffers. 


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, US Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds

Norway’s Askøy municipality weighs founding separate pension fund
(Sunday - May 21, 2017) Associated Profiles : Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund 
Source: Investment Pensions Europe - KLP is the second-largest provider of public service pensions in Norway after Statens Pensjonskasse (SPK), and has been expanding rapidly over the last year as municipalities and other public sector employers transfer their... 

Why 2017 Could Be a Breakthrough Year for Islamic Finance
(Tuesday - May 23, 2017) 
Source: Wealth Management - The 4 million Muslims in the U.S. make up one of the highest earning demographics in the country. Not surprisingly, they're looking to invest in financial vehicles that mirror their own beliefs. 

How To Steal A Lot of Money From CalPERS, The Nation's Largest Public Pension
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) 
Source: Forbes - How hard would it be to steal millions from CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension with $320 billion in assets'?  Easy-peasy.  Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported a disturbing fact—a fact well known to... 

News for You From the Corporate Sector

Biggest threat to Ford? Not GM, but Silicon Valley
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: CBS News - Ford Motor (F) replaced its chief executive, a 28-year company veteran, because major shareholders -- including the founding Ford family -- had the willies about Silicon Valley competition. They wanted a more innovative CEO who... 

Barilla identifies Med diet and sustainability as the ‘new culture’ of food
(Tuesday - May 23, 2017) 
Source: Food Navigator - A ‘new culture,’ in which food sustainability and the Mediterranean lifestyle form the pillars to this change, is required to safeguard the health of populations and land resources. 

Caterpillar Highlights Company's Focus on Building Better and Making Sustainable Progress Possible Around the World
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: Caterpillar - Caterpillar Inc. has released its 2016 Sustainability Report, highlighting the company’s focus for more than 90 years on building better – better lives, better communities and, ultimately, a better world. Titled... 

Dow Highlights Progress in 2016 Sustainability Report
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: Food Ingredients First - The Dow Chemical Company (DOW) have released its 2016 Sustainability Report, laying a solid foundation with strong first-year results since announcing its 2025 Sustainability Goals.

3M doubles sustainability efforts
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: OPI - Consumer business group 3M has published its 2017 sustainability report. It highlights the group’s accomplishments in addressing global environmental and health challenges in 2016. This edition is the first to show the progress...

Harley-Davidson plans Thailand factory to serve Southeast Asian market
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: CNBC - Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. said on Thursday it will build a plant in Thailand, a major Asian automotive hub, to serve the growing Southeast Asian market, a move criticized by a U.S. labor union. 


Trump Administration News... Affecting Directions on Governance, Sustainability & Climate Change

Trump's budget by the numbers: What gets cut and why
(Wednesday - May 24, 2017) 
Source: CNN - President Donald Trump's team released its first full budget proposal on Tuesday, and while lawmakers are likely to dismiss most of it -- as they traditionally do with most White House wish lists -- the document provides fresh..

What Does Trump's Budget Mean for the Environment?
(Thursday - May 25, 2017) 
Source: The Atlantic - In early March, President Trump proposed a budget that would have scaled back the federal government’s stewardship of the environment beyond recognition. The budget traded historically unprecedented cuts to the EPA for... 

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