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?
The Koch brothers won't be happy to hear it, but economic success in the future will require a commitment to sustainability -- whether you're talking about clean energy, clean water, or fair labor practices. Companies that haven't figured that out by now are already falling behind, whether they know it or not.