Ryan Schuchard, Manager, Climate and Energy, BSR

The “BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2012” of more than 550 professionals from BSR member companies shows that climate change remains among the top three sustainability issues for business, with 61 percent of respondents saying that climate is a priority for the year ahead.

Here are some highlights from the poll:

  • Companies are advancing climate sustainability by maintaining investments in internal operations—the top stated climate priority is managing energy in operations (71 percent). However, companies are also seeking to increase their impact in value chains, with the number two priority being supply chain (43 percent). Other stated beyond-the-fence priorities include product design, business travel, policy engagement, and lower-carbon siting and construction.
  • As for challenges, the most commonly cited obstacle is working effectively with business units to achieve solutions throughout the value chain (42 percent). This is an indicator of the sophistication needed to take supplier engagement from simple disclosure requests to actual improved carbon performance—something that requires meaningful investments in supplier development and more support for such initiatives within companies own’ procurement departments.
  • Value chain is also central to the second challenge cited: Establishing a strategy for achieving the greatest impact (29 percent). This is another symptom of the need that many companies have to filter through the noise and focus on the relatively small set of areas where they can achieve the greatest impact.

For more on the climate roadmap for business, read our article "Climate 2.0: What Is Expected of Business Now?" and join our panel on Climate 2.0: The Widening Scope of Leadership at this year’s BSR Conference.