Just a Fifth of Companies Believe that Their Impacts are Understood, New Report Reveals

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Just one in five companies believes that external stakeholders have a good understanding of their impacts on the world, according to a new report.

Corporate Citizenship, a global management consultancy specialising in sustainability, has today released Impact for Change: Better Business for a Better World. The report outlines how any company can map, measure and take action on their most important social, environmental and economic impacts.

Criticism of companies is never far from the news. From deforestation and human rights issues in the supply chain to the health impacts of products, firms are facing more and more questions about their impacts. This also creates many new opportunities for business. Corporate Citizenship’s report examines the positive side of business impacts – from creating jobs to making socially-beneficial products that bring about long-term change for a more sustainable world.

Corporate Citizenship’s research shows that business impacts are not being understood or communicated effectively today. In a global survey of sustainability practitioners working in large multinationals, just one in five said that external stakeholders had a “good understanding” of their business’s impacts. Corporate Citizenship believes that this ‘impact knowledge gap’ is preventing companies from achieving maximum success.

The study explores how, by understanding their impacts and taking action to minimise the negatives and accentuate the positives, companies can close the ‘impact knowledge gap’ and realise three main benefits:

  1. Sparking innovation for business growth;
  2. Building resilience and reducing risk;
  3. Establishing effective collaborations to scale up impact.

Amanda Jordan OBE, cofounder of Corporate Citizenship, said:
“We need to close the impact knowledge gap if we are to make progress on sustainability. The Global Goals set by the U.N. last year provide a great opportunity for all sectors to come together and take action.

“Businesses want to play their part. But companies must target their involvement strategically. They need to focus where they can make the biggest difference. The exciting opportunity is for businesses to work out their impacts, and then make the change where it really matters in their value chain”