Sustainability FAQs

These Sustainability Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) set out the BSR perspective on important topics for just and sustainable business. We will refine these perspectives and add to them over time.

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Climate Change and People

This FAQ sets out the BSR perspective on the relationship between climate change and people. Both the physical effects of climate change (e.g., extreme weather events) and the transition to a net-zero economy (e.g., shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy) will have disproportionately adverse impacts on under-resourced and under- served communities and exacerbate the underlying systemic inequities that these communities already face. We believe that climate justice should be central to company action on climate change and address the interlocking elements of access and participation, human rights, just transition, and resilience.

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Governance and Oversight of Just and Sustainable Business

This FAQ sets out BSR’s perspective on the governance and oversight of just and sustainable business at companies. We believe that engaged boards, empowered executive leadership, and clear roles and responsibilities throughout companies are essential for the creation of long-term value for investors and society.

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Human Rights Assessment

This FAQ sets out the BSR perspective on human rights assessments. We believe that identifying and prioritizing the actual and potential human rights impacts with which a company may be involved is a first critical step in avoiding, preventing, and mitigating harm to people associated with business activity.

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Materiality and Salience

This FAQ sets out the BSR perspective on the related concepts of materiality and salience. We believe that implementation of the key concepts described in this FAQ—such as double materiality, impact materiality, and salience—provide the foundation for more resilient business strategies, informed decision making by all stakeholders, and the realization of human rights in practice.

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Net Zero Targets

This FAQ sets out the BSR perspective on net zero targets. We believe that setting science-based net-zero targets—and more importantly, taking ambitious action to achieve these targets—is core to the role that companies should play in helping achieve the Paris Agreement’s stretch target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

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Stakeholder Engagement

This FAQ sets out the BSR perspective on stakeholder engagement. We believe that meaningful stakeholder engagement is an essential foundation for just and sustainable business and a core element of processes such as decision making, strategy development, materiality assessment, human rights due diligence, and reporting. Without meaningful stakeholder engagement, any approach to just and sustainable business would be constrained by a company’s self-interest and inward focus.