Shortcuts - April 2016
- Business & Industry ,
- Management ,
- Corporate governance ,
- Employee engagement ,
- Stakeholder engagement
A round-up of news on business sustainability and ethics.
More than 80% of companies in the US S&P 500 index published corporate sustainability reports in 2015, a 5% rise on 2014 and up from 20% in 2011. Louis Coppola, executive vice-president at the Governance & Accountability Institute, which compiled the figures, said: ‘Measuring, managing, and reporting on ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] issues has been established as a mainstream practice in both the corporate and investment communities. [Business] leaders increasingly understand the critical importance of adopting and implementing strategies, products, services, programmes and initiatives that reflect the 21st century business environment, and the interest of investors and important stakeholders.’
Impact knowledge gap
A study by Corporate Citizenship has found that just one company in five believes external stakeholders have a good understanding of their impacts on the world. The consultancy said this was due to an internal and external ‘impact knowledge gap’. It found that few corporations were able to measure effectively how they create change and that many did not know how to communicate their future impact. It added that too many stakeholders knew surprisingly little about corporations’ impacts.
Some 131 businesses, representing 21 countries and 45 industries, have been named the world’s most ethical companies in the 10th annual index from the US Ethisphere Institute. The 2016 list includes 14 ten-time honorees and 13 first-time members. Four UK companies are listed: retailer Marks & Spencer; utility firms National Grid and Northumbrian Water; and vehicle parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive. Several other firms with UK operations, including Japanese electronics equipment manufacturer Ricoh and US engineering and environment consultancy CH2M, were also on this year’s list.
The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.