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Ernst & Young report has sustainability at the top of corporate agendas



A study by Ernst & Young and GreenBiz has highlighted six key trends relating to environmental sustainability, including increasing attention to resources shortages and climate change.

Some 86% of companies surveyed said sustainability was embedded in their firm’s strategy. Meanwhile, more than half (68%) said they often discussed sustainability-related risks and opportunities with investors.

The research also found that while governments might not play a significant role in defining corporate sustainability agendas, consumers do. In fact, 61% of companies named this group as the primary driver in implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

Resources scarcity worries 51% of businesses, and water in particular is seen as the resource most at risk. Extreme weather and climate-related issues are being increasingly considered by companies.

Half of respondents said that investors have asked them about sustainability more in the past 12 months than in the past.

Across corporate America, executives are increasingly focusing more attention on the risks and opportunities around sustainability”, said Steve Starbuck, part of Ernst & Young’s climate change and sustainability services division.

However, most companies still are not actively engaging in scenario planning, which means company awareness has not translated into the necessary preparedness that would minimise risk and maximise opportunities for their organisation.”

In April, a survey found that the way a company communicates its sustainability practices positively affects its performance and reputation. According to another study, CSR practices promoted at the workplace are likely to be followed by employees at home.

Further reading:

Reflections on a debate: has CSR reached its sell-by date?

CSR and sustainability practices found to boost public perception of firms

CSR is about ‘having mechanisms to fix market inequalities or injustices’

Sustainability in the workplace reflects on employees’ personal choices, says study

The Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility 2013


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