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6 growing corporate sustainability trends

Sustainability-related inquiries from investors and shareholders are part of the new trends, according to a group of surveyed executives.

Ernst & Young LLP and GreenBiz Group conducted a survey in late 2012 of executives and other sustainability-minded thought leaders, asking the group what growing corporate sustainability trends they are seeing this year. After analyzing 282 responses from representatives of 17 different industry sectors, a list of six top sustainability trends was created.

  1. The “tone from the top” is key to heightened awareness and preparedness for sustainability risks.
  2. Governments and multilateral institutions aren’t playing a key role in corporate sustainability agendas.
  3. Sustainability concerns now include increased risk and proximity of natural resource shortages.
  4. Corporate risk response is not well-paired to the scale of sustainability challenges.
  5. Integrated reporting is slow to take hold.
  6. Inquiries from investors and shareholders are on the rise.

Of these six trends, I’m most intrigued by the fact that investors and shareholders are asking more sustainability-related questions than they have in the past. While top-down goals are a good sign of sustainability-minded leadership, demand from stakeholders can lead businesses to adopt sustainability goals and programs at a more rapid pace.

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