The State of Sustainable Business 2019
BSR and GlobeScan’s annual survey of sustainable business professionals reveals how companies are thinking about and taking action on today’s most important sustainability issues.
Climate Change Emerges as Most Significant Issue
Companies citing Climate Change as a ‘very significant’ sustainability focus jumped dramatically in 2019, increasing 14 percentage points to 52% percent. Climate Change, Ethics and Integrity, and Diversity and Inclusion continue to be the top overall priorities, as they were in 2018.
…But Few Companies Have Adopted a Price on Carbon.
Despite Climate Change ranking as a top priority, there has been minimal movement in the number of companies setting an internal price on carbon.
Very small growth of companies that do have a price on carbon, from 15% in 2017 to 17% in 2019.
Companies planning to put a price on carbon when down from 15% in 2017 to 13% in 2019.
Investors Have Become a Key Driver for Sustainability
Investor interest has risen significantly as one of the most important drivers of companies’ sustainability efforts, with 40% of companies citing it as a key factor, a 15 percentage point increase from 2018. ‘Investor interest’ joins reputation risk (61%) and consumer/customer demand (40%) in the top three drivers of sustainability efforts.
Struggle to Integrate Sustainability into Core Business
Despite continued CEO focus and rising investor interest, little has changed in the past three years in the level of self-reported integration of sustainability into the core of the business.
Sustainable Development Goals: Still a North Star & Companies Are Walking the Talk...
When it comes to using the SDGs to guide corporate performance targets, survey respondents have turned plans into actions.
Companies using set targets rose from 39% in 2018 to 48% in 2019. However, companies intending to set targets dropped from 32% in 2018 to 23% in 2019.
...As We Enter the 2020s, What Comes Next?
Over half the companies (52%) surveyed had a sustainability strategy with a 2020 end date or milestone. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents have their sights set on a milestone within the next decade (36% on 2025, 26% on 2030). In order to achieve the progress required to reach critical sustainability targets, we need business to dramatically increase its ambitions over the next 5-10 years.