In initiating the public examination of its flaws, and in working with an organization like Verite, Nestle has already gone a more honorable and transparent route than other companies have done. But while it has taken the first step towards being a more responsible company, Nestle's commitment to funding a long term strategy -- and how it pushes beyond the inevitable road blocks ahead -- will determine its ultimate footprint and legacy.
Despite pockets of progress, the world is slipping further behind on many social, economic and environmental dimensions. While some forward looking companies have spearheaded excellent social and environmental initiatives, it is clear that global sustainability cannot be achieved one company at a time.
So what aspects should multinational corporations focus on to address increasing stakeholder pressures and improve their operational sustainability? One important area is the management of natural resources and environmental impacts, both in the corporations' own operations and also in their "value chains."
The programs that produce this environmental information may be inexpensive, politically expedient, far-reaching and especially flexible ways to influence environmental outcomes in a constrained and complicated world. But do environmental transparency programs work? Do they achieve program goals? Do they affect firms' bottom lines enough to motivate change?