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2014 Corporate Sustainability Trends

In the last two years, sustainability has emerged to a prominent position in corporate and consumer consciences. In 2013, consumer demands, regulatory influence and reporting practices collided to spawn new best practices for how companies can execute and report on their missions, integrating their financial and sustainability metrics.

This report discusses four emerging trends in corporate sustainability and provides insights on how organizations can further their brand leadership among consumers.

While many companies have marketed sustainable messaging, how many have truly adopted universal sustainable behaviors? Faulty marketing leaves consumers wondering whether or not the products they consume are truly sustainable; meanwhile, manufacturers seek to improve the sustainability of their products to erase this question from the consumers’ minds. One roadblock to the manufacturers’ goal is that sustainability initiatives must prove they create value before receiving investment. In 2014, companies will overcome this roadblock by building Integrated Reports that demonstrate how sustainability investments will create value for their businesses. With this, they will then begin to embed sustainability into their long term strategy.

Companies will learn that Integrated Reporting isn’t as hard or evasive as it seems. Key industry players such as SAP, Coca Cola, and Clorox have been building the hype around Integrated Reporting for over two years now. Nonetheless, many naysayers continue to whine that “it’s too hard,” “it takes too long,” or “nobody really cares enough to read it.” But it is not as hard or evasive as it seems, and emerging best practices and methodologies are making it even easier. And with the release of the IIRC official Integrated Reporting framework and new GRI G4 reporting standards, companies now have a guideline of the context on which to report with the caveat that they are able to choose the level of information they publicly disclose. Furthermore, advanced reporting technologies (i.e., SAP Sustainability, OneReport) are allowing for companies to more easily track and integrate their financial, environmental and social reporting. Investments in tracking and reporting this type of information will allow companies to more readily support sustainability claims in the coming year.

For more, download our full report.