A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

Archive for June, 2011

Businesses Start Paying Attention to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation

June 29, 2011 | No Comments →

Last month, the athletic apparel company PUMA announced its first “environmental profit and loss statement.” PUMA’s CEO Jochen Zeitz explained the decision by insisting that, in order to remain profitable, companies must integrate into their business models the true costs of relying on nature.

PUMA’s move is an example of “corporate ecosystem valuation,” the process of businesses making strategic decisions by assigning a financial price to both ecosystem degradation and the services that ecosystems provide. For example, clean water and forests provide services like erosion control, CO2 absorption, and food.

But, why would companies consider adding a value to resources like water or timber? After all, these are not line items an analyst typically finds on a balance sheet. Data from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) tells part of the story: (more…)

Con Edison’s GHG Emissions Decreased 35 Percent Since 2005

June 27, 2011 | No Comments →

Earlier this month, Consolidated (Con) Edison issued its 2010 Sustainability Report, detailing its long-term business strategy, an approach that relies on energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling.

Con Edison is a New York-based utility that employs 15,000 employees, has $13 billion in revenues and holds $36 billion in assets. The company provides nine million people with electricity while balancing sustainability principles based on six fundamental points:

  • Insist on green behavior from employees.
  • Encourage green behavior to external stakeholders.
  • Meet customers’ demands for a greener lifestyle through innovation.
  • Partner with governments to create policies that match Con Edison’s sustainability vision.
  • Develop an infrastructure for renewable energy.
  • Include environmental and social values within its decision making process.

What are the results so far?


Northern Trust Issues First Corporate Social Responsibility Report

June 24, 2011 | No Comments →

Late last month, Northern Trust released its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, offering a detailed review of the company’s CSR strategy and an overview of global initiatives launched or completed last year.

Northern Trust, a 120-year-old company with $93 billion in banking assets and $4.4 trillion in assets under custody, made considerable accomplishments in community work, philanthropy, and environmental protection in 2010. For example:

Study Reveals Perceived Sustainability Performance Exceeds Actual for 66 of 100 Firms

June 22, 2011 | No Comments →

Consumers are increasingly focused on corporations’ sustainability practices. But, how well do public perceptions align with firms’ actual performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues?

New research suggests that there isn’t much alignment, at all, and that, unfortunately, many companies are facing reputational risk if they don’t better coordinate their branding, communications, reporting and stakeholder engagement processes around emerging ESG priorities.

The new study, Sustainability Research Report: Measuring Perception vs. Reality, provides a quantitative analysis of sustainability and corporate citizenship performance of 100 leading multinationals.

Conducted by the brand consulting firm Brandlogic and CRD Analytics, the study surveyed 2400 supply chain managers, investment professionals and graduating college students from the US and abroad about their perceptions of the multinationals’ ESG efforts. Then, researchers compared those perceptions against the performance data from 175 performance metrics and five key ESG performance indicators.

Data from the study showed that: (more…)

Mattel Developing New Sustainability Policy After Greenpeace Targets Toy Companies’ Packaging

June 20, 2011 | No Comments →

Mattel’s recent progress report on a variety sustainability issues was counterbalanced with a global campaign by Greenpeace targeting the toy company’s paper packaging allegedly derived from Indonesian rain forests.

According to the Greenpeace website, Mattel’s packaging includes paper from Indonesia’s most notorious rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). As a result, “Critical wildlife habitat and carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands are being wrecked for cheap, throw-away toy packaging,” Greenpeace says.

Other toy companies are implicated in the Greenpeace campaign, as well. In fact, Greenpeace reports that its forensic testing shows regular use of rainforest fiber (MTH) in the packaging of major toy brands manufactured in China or Indonesia. In addition, chain-of-custody evidence in China and Indonesia shows that APP is an important supplier of packaging materials for major toy brands.

Mattel, which according to the LA Times is “under siege” by environmental critics responding to the Greenpeace report, announced that it will develop a new policy to make its packaging suppliers “commit to sustainable forestry management practices.”

In addition to addressing current concerns about packaging sourcing, Mattel’s policy will also cover other wood-based products in its toy lines, such as paper, books and accessories. The company says it is focused on minimizing its footprint throughout the value chain and across the organization. (more…)