U.S. Corporations Making Little Ground on Sustainability

Ceres released an analysis of 600 U.S. companies today, finding that the leadership on sustainability practices and performance has fallen short of expectations in four measured categories.

The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, which was conducted by Ceres and global research and analysis firm Systainalytics, found that 26 percent of companies are integrating sustainability into their governance and management systems. However, only a quarter of the these companies are disclosing supply chain monitoring and performance and only one-third have targets in place for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This new report is the first assessment of the progress on the corporate sustainability roadmap, which was released two years ago. The how-to guide for companies to reach sustainability by the year 2020 outlined expectations in multiple categories.The Guardian explains that the roadmap is composed of 20 specific expectations companies must meet in the areas of governance, disclosure, stakeholder engagement and performance.

Ceres’ new report utilized a four-tier assessment system. Analysis showed that only a quarter of all companies surveyed ranked within the top two tiers for progress on governance, while 24 percent have some degree of meaningful stakeholder engagement.

While the overall results of the analysis are disappointing to environmental activists, there are some positive highlights in the report. Here are some companies that have seen success in their sustainability initiatives:

  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola has been credited with being on track to meet its goal of improving water efficiency by 20 percent by the end of 2012.
  • Nike: The shoe maker has partnered to implement a water-free fabric dyeing process.
  • Kohl’s:The retailer has achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in all stores.
  • Pinnacle West: This organization is using 20 billion gallons of recycled urban wastewater per year.
  • EMC: EMC has built an energy-efficient virtual data center to move physical data to a virtualized IT infrastructure. This shift saved the company $23 million and counting.

What success has your company had?

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