It's not just a marketing ploy; sustainability has turned into a core business issue.
Sustainable business is no longer just a marketing slogan. Businesses from Walmart to Herman Miller have embraced sustainability-management of environmental impacts- as good for the bottom line. A 2010 Accenture study conducted for the UN Global Compact on the importance of sustainability found that 96 percent of CEOs surveyed thought that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into the strategy and operations of a company - up from 72 percent in 2007.
In a blog post entitled, “7 Sustainability Trends Every CFO Needs to Know,” Paul Baier, vice president of sustainability consulting at Groom Energy, argues that the day has arrived. CFOs need to embrace sustainability as they oversee many areas, such as investor relations, risk management,procurement/supply chain, IT, facilities/real estate, and HR, which affect the ability to achieve sustainable goals. He also notes:
Sustainability metrics are included in financial reports.
Novo Nordisk and Timberland are among brands that include sustainability metrics with their financial numbers, according to Baier. Only 7% of the respondents in the E&Y/Green Biz survey said they don’t currently report on sustainability and have no plans to do so in the future, according to blogger Cindy Mehallow, a communications consultant specializing in sustainability issues.
Financial accounting standard boards are also beginning to support supplementing financial reported information. The International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC), an international group composed of leaders from investing, accounting, securities and regulatory sectors, is advocating combining this kind of non-financial data with financial reports.
So what are the obstacles to success?
Canada’s Network for Business Sustainability asked business managers to identify the biggest sustainability-related challenges for 2012, and it found leading companies are “beyond the point of asking ‘is sustainability important’ and ‘should we do it.’” Instead, they are wrestling with how to “drive profits by making sustainability core to the business.”