Are Unilever, Nike, Wal-Mart, GE, and Many More Companies Really “Sustainable Multinationals?”

This week we bring your attention to a Forbes/Poland story posted by CSR editor Magdalene Krukowska, who looks critically at a research and ranking effort by SustainAbility (UK) and GlobeScan (Canada) – the firms analyzed the efforts of leading multinationals that are generally considered to be sustainability leaders.

She offers negative views on the efforts of these large multinationals that are striving to be more sustainable in their operations.  Here at G&A Institute we scour these companies’ (and their peers) disclosure and structured reporting on ESG, sustainability, responsibility, citizenship efforts.  (The titles are still interchangeable in practice, which investment professionals see as more confusion than clarity, but that’s another story.)  We would generally disagree on a number of points with the commentary, but we suggest that you read it for yourself.

The author looks with skepticism at Unilever; Hershey’s; Nestle’s (“cocoa and chocolate peers”); Nike; Coca Cola; BASF; Wal-Mart Stores…and others, and wonders whether they can truly “do the right thing” and institute sustainable strategies and operationalize this across their global platforms.  The basis of the research was to assess the progress being made since the 1992 Rio Conference and whether large multinationals are part of the problem or part of the solution.

We’ll let you decide where the author comes down on these issues.  We suggest you look at the sustainability reporting of the companies in view in this piece and judge for yourself whether or not the companies are walking-the-talk on sustainability.  Check the recently enhanced GRI global database for access to the company reports (there are thousands of corporate reports in the database now)– at http://database.globalreporting.org/

Can Multinational Corporations Be Sustainability Leaders?
(Tuesday – July 07, 2015)
Source: Forbes – How can international corporations like Unilever, Ikea and Nestlé place highly on a list of the most sustainable companies in the world? Could a study that champions the environmental merits of business behemoths like Patagonia,…

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