New Ceres Report Tracks Corporate Sustainability Efforts

By E. Lynn Grayson.

This report, Gaining Ground - Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability (report), evaluates how well 613 of the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies are integrating sustainability into their business systems and decision-making. The report – a collaboration between Ceres and Sustainalytics – assesses corporate progress across the four strategic areas first outlined in 2010 in the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability: Governance, Stakeholder Engagement, Disclosure and Performance.

Ceres and Sustainalytics last evaluated these companies in the 2012 report, The Road to 2010, where companies were placed into one of four performance "tiers." Two years later, the Gaining Ground report reveals that while there is progress being made by an increasing number of companies and sectors, Ceres believes it is still not seeing the speed of change that is required – or the scale of innovation that is possible. Incremental progress in tackling global climate change and other sustainability threats is simply not enough.

Key findings in this recent report include:

  1. Boards of Directors are not taking enough responsibility for overseeing sustainability efforts.
  2. A growing number of companies are incorporating sustainability performance into executive compensation packages.
  3. Companies are increasingly engaging investors on sustainability issues.
  4. Stakeholders are not consistently involved in the sustainability planning process.
  5. More companies are actively engaging employees on sustainability issues.
  6. While many companies are taking action to reduce GHG emissions, few have set time-bound targets.
  7. Companies are not doing enough to address water risks, especially in stressed regions.
  8. Additional innovation is needed to drive sustainable products and services.
  9. More companies are setting clear sustainability standards for suppliers.

This report evaluates the sustainability performance of 613 U.S. companies, which represent nearly 80 percent of the total market capitalization of all public companies in the country. This report evaluates how well 613 of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. are meeting the expectations outlined in the Ceres Roadmap. It is intended to allow companies to assess their performance against their peers and to see what businesses are doing across economic sectors.

According to Ceres, the information here is critical for investors because it reveals how well prepared, or in many cases, how poorly prepared, individual companies are to thrive in an economy being profoundly shaped by sustainability risks and opportunities.

The report is available at www.ceres.org/gainingground.

    E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

Read more at Corporate Environmental Lawyer Blog by Jenner & Block LLP.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions, connect with us through our corporate site