Sustainability Publications

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2012

  1. 2012 Citizenship and Sustainability Conference KeyNotes Report

    October 2012 | Conference KeyNotes

    The best way to ensure your organization’s operations meet society’s expectations is to embed corporate responsibility into your business practices

2013

  1. 2013 Summit on Sustainability Conference KeyNotes Report

    July 2013 | Conference KeyNotes

    Many firms no longer see a contradiction between doing good and making a profit, and are incorporating sustainability into their operations and business models.

B

  1. Business and Sustainability in China: Company Responses to a National Priority

    December 2011 | Research Report

    What actions are companies taking in China to support the country's sustainable development imperatives?

  2. Bar Is Rising on Sustainability Leadership

    January 2013 | Director Notes

    In a reflection of ongoing corporate efforts to define and achieve sustainability goals, real performance on sustainability is rising. On the other hand, stakeholders’ perceptions about organizations’ performance are declining.

  3. Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility

    June 2011 | Director Notes

    This report documents some of the potential bottom-line benefits to companies of being attentive to CSR: reducing cost and risk, gaining competitive advantage, developing and maintaining legitimacy and reputational capital, and achieving win-win outcomes

  4. Business Case for Nature

    April 2013 | The Conference Board Review

    The authors argue that companies should value natural resources as highly as any other.

C

  1. CEO Challenge Reflections: How Socio-Economic Change Is Shaping Business Sustainability in China

    November 2011 | Executive Action Report

    For CEOs in China, the challenge of sustainability was ranked higher than anywhere else in the world. But how will business meet this challenge?

  2. CEOs on Citizenship

    January 2002 | Executive Action Report

    Summarizes the results of surveys of managers, board members, and chief executives on corporate citizenship.

  3. Carbon Footprint a Growing Management Concern

    October 2006 | Executive Action Report

    The Conference Board survey finds companies are increasingly focusing on greenhouse gases and their implications for business.

  4. Charting a Path to Sustainability Leadership

    November 2012 | Director Notes

    This report looks at the potential benefits of demonstrating good environmental, social, and governance performance and discusses five traits of companies that excel in the operational and communication dimensions of sustainability.

  5. China Center Chart of the Week: Reporting on corporate environmental and social performance – still a long way to go

    June 2013 | China Center Publications

    This chart shows disclosure rates regarding key sustainability practices for constituent companies of the SSE 50, and compares it with the S&P Global 1200. The SSE 50 index comprises 50 Chinese A-share stocks listed on the Shanghai stock exchange.

  6. China Center Quick Note: Corporate Sustainability Disclosure in China -- Evidence from constituents of the CSI 300 index

    August 2013 | China Center Publications

    How well do Chinese companies currently do at disclosing their sustainability practices to the public, and which metrics do they use?

  7. Citizenship and Sustainability: Doing Good Can Be Good for Business

    January 2007 | Executive Action Report

    Small and mid-size companies are finding that expanding corporate citizenship and sustainability programs is a smart business decision that can enhance public image and do good even with limited resources.

  8. Climate Change: Clear Trajectory—Haze in the Details

    August 2004 | Executive Action Report

    Climate change is a fact of life for business in the 21st century, and those that ignore the potential implications do so at their own peril.

  9. Collaboration Between Multistakeholder Standards: A Governance Perspective

    June 2012 | Director Notes

    This report examines the nature, benefits, and shortcomings of existing multistakeholder corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards, and it discusses how businesses can better coordinate their participation in a variety of initiatives.

  10. Communicating Sustainability Leadership The Difficulty of Achieving Differentiation

    April 2013 | Director Notes

    The overall decline in perceived performance of sustainability initiatives for two-thirds of companies in a recent study may be the result of rising skepticism about the benefits of sustainability programs.

  11. Company Approaches to Green Products and Services: What's Working and What's Not

    May 2008 | Executive Action Report

    Companies that go “green” and promote those efforts must be informed on the environmental impacts of all processes throughout a product’s lifecycle and commit to transparency in marketing and advertising.

  12. Corporate Citizenship Reporting: Best Practices

    June 2005 | Research Report

    This report presents case studies of five companies that exemplify best practices in the public reporting to stakeholders of citizenship performance.

  13. Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability Arrive: Are Capital Markets Addressing New Business and Investment Risk Factors?

    July 2002 | Executive Action Report

    Perhaps the only thing that is certain today in global capital markets is that traditional performance measures are not capturing important investment risk factors.

  14. Corporate Citizenship in the New Century: Accountability, Transparency, and Global Stakeholder Engagement

    July 2002 | Research Report

    This report, based on the views and experiences of corporate managers of citizenship programs, CEOs, and board members at over 700 companies, examines the state of global corporate citizenship practices, expectations, and trends.

  15. Corporate EH&S Reward Programs

    June 1996 | Research Report

    Employee-recognition programs can boost your company's performance in EHS. This report shows how such programs can aid your strategic planning.

  16. Corporate Environmental Governance: Benchmarks Toward a World-Class System

    May 2000 | Research Report

    Environmental management systems are not new, and most companies report having had an EMS before 1996. Nevertheless, ISO 14001 has promoted a more systematic approach and created a common EMS vocabulary.

  17. Corporate Philanthropy with a Global Footprint

    March 2013 | Research Report

    The context of global giving is changing. Investment, not philanthropy, is the preferred terminology and approach internationally, as this snapshot of the state of global corporate philanthropy illustrates.

  18. Corporate Social Responsibility In China: Can Voluntary Codes Succeed?

    July 2005 | Executive Action Report

    Is there an alternative to laws that are unevenly administered and enforced? A question well worth asking about business practice in all developing economies -- including China.

  19. Corporate Social Responsibility in India

    August 2014 | Director Notes

    Given India’s global influence, there is much potential for its vision of mandatory CSR, which anticipates CSR as a central component of corporate activity, to spread to the rest of the world.

  20. Corporate Sustainability Disclosure in China

    October 2013 | Executive Action Report

    Environmental and labor regulations abound in China, but supervision and enforcement are seriously lacking. Chinese businesses acutely need more transparency, better disclosure, and better performance in sustainability.

  21. Corporate Sustainability in Brazil

    May 2014 | Director Notes

    This report looks at Brazil through a corporate sustainability lens and offers an overview of the current state of environmental and social practices among its business organizations.

  22. Challenge of Meeting Public Expectations on Sustainable Development

    March 2006 | Executive Action Report

    As the public becomes increasingly concerned with health, safety, and the environment, companies are adopting new approaches and involving stakeholders in more open, transparent, and constructive dialogues.

  23. Changing Chinese Supply Chain

    November 2013 | Executive Action Report

    This report presents detailed information about managing supply chains in China and the characteristics of a successful risk management program.

  24. Communication Patterns of Corporate Social Responsibility within and across Industries

    April 2012 | Director Notes

    This report examines how American corporations collectively describe their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities based on an analysis of data collected from 103 Fortune 500 websites.

D

  1. Developing an Effective Climate Change Strategy

    February 2014 | Director Notes

    Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are becoming increasingly important. This report details eight steps for developing such strategies and provides examples of companies that have done so.

  2. Doing Good and Doing Well:Making the Business Case for Corporate Citizenship

    November 2000 | Research Report

    Whether corporate citizenship "pays" is not as relevant a question as how corporate citizenship contributes to achieving the core business strategy.

  3. Driving Real Value with CSR

    September 2013 | Director Notes

    Spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) doesn’t automatically create economic value. Executives who understand when and how to deploy responsible practices, however, can use CSR to improve their bottom line.

  4. Driving Toward ''0''

    November 2003 | Research Report

    This study is a benchmark on corporate safety culture and a rating of the policies and best practices that affect corporate safety performance.

E

  1. EH&S: A Platform for Progress

    January 1997 | Research Report

    Environmental performance is essential to bottom-line growth, and leaders in the field agree that integration is the key to strong performance. Actual integration, however, is not a simple process.

  2. Environmental Policy-Making

    June 1997 | Research Report

    European and American decision makers realize they need a new approach to environmental policy making, so they are considering analytical tools such as risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis.

  3. Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Governance: What a Difference a Few Years Can Make

    September 2011 | Council Perspectives

    The Chief Environment, Health, and Safety Officers’ Council survey results and analysis underscore a corporate shift of attention to sustainability as a source of business value.

  4. Expanding the Investment Frontier: Factoring Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria into Investment Analysis

    October 2005 | Research Report

    Environmental, Social and Governance Criteria are becoming more recognized as an essential tool in investment analysis.

  5. Expanding Parameters of Global Corporate Citizenship

    June 1999 | Research Report

    The parameters of sound corporate citizenship have moved beyond traditional monetary grants to encompass concerns such as sustainable development, human rights, and the quality of life needs of outside constituencies.

F

  1. Finding Direction . . .Taking Control of the Sustainability Agenda: Broadening the Role of Business

    December 2003 | Executive Action Report

    For business to adopt an enhanced corporate responsibility strategy and expect to realize short-term business benefits in the face of long-term global needs is likely unrealistic. This report explains why it is still important to develop such a strategy.

  2. Frameworks for Integrating Citizenship and Sustainability into Business Strategies and Operations

    June 2009 | Research Report

    This report explores the approaches of 11 North American companies with well-established citizenship and sustainability practices.

  3. Frameworks for Integrating Citizenship and Sustainability into Business Strategies and Operations

    June 2009 | Key Findings

    This report explores the approaches of 11 North American companies with well-established citizenship and sustainability practices.

G

  1. Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition

    September 2013 | Research Report

    Fifty-nine percent of companies recommitted to their communities by giving more to charity in 2012 than they did before the recession took hold in late 2007.

  2. Giving the Working Poor a Working Chance

    February 2011 | Council Perspectives

    How can business and the world’s corporations help efforts to alleviate global poverty? And what is the rationale for getting involved?

  3. Global Climate Change: Fact or Fiction? It Doesn't Matter--The Issue is Here to Stay

    June 2002 | Executive Action Report

    This report argues that while science is unlikely to provide unequivocal answers to the debate, governments and markets are likely to act on their perception of the science--actions which will have an impact on global business.

  4. Global Supply Chain Labor Standards

    May 2012 | Director Notes

    This report examines the adoption of supplier codes of conduct and supply chain labor policies; a framework for implementing supply chain sustainability programs, and media coverage, proxy voting guidelines and shareholder proposals related to this topic.

  5. Going Green: Corporate Commitment to Citizenship and Sustainability Issues Takes on a Greater Role

    March 2008 | Executive Action Report

    North American companies have placed increased emphasis on corporate citizenship and sustainability issues over the past three years, leading to numerous changes within their organizations.

H

  1. A Higher Consciousness: Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey looks to elevate business

    January 2013 | The Conference Board Review

    John Mackey of Whole Foods explains his philosophy of "conscious capitalism" and corporate responsibility—and how it dovetails with his libertarian political ideology.

  2. How Do Financial Markets Respond to Corporate Sustainability Disclosure?

    April 2014 | Director Notes

    While established evidence shows that bad corporate environmental news is punished by the market, emerging evidence shows that, in some instances, superior environmental performance may also be punished.

I

  1. Innovative Public-Private Partnerships: Conservation of Forests, Farmlands, and Wetlands

    October 2001 | Research Report

    This report outlines the current status of agreements between government, business, and non-governmental organizations for the preservation of open spaces.

  2. Innovative Public-Private Partnerships: Environmental Initiatives

    March 1998 | Research Report

    Is a partnership between your company and a regulatory agency a possibility? Maybe it should be. Here are some keys to making it work.

  3. Investing in CSR to Enhance Customer Value

    February 2011 | Director Notes

    This report, which is based on the analysis of 163 articles from the most relevant empirical literature on the subject, offers a number of practical recommendations to business leaders embarking in CSR programs for their companies.

  4. Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on Corporate Citizenship

    June 2000 | Research Report

    Americans hold companies completely or partially responsible for operating profitably, paying their fair share of taxes, providing long-term jobs, and helping community projects. Yet M&A can put such actions in jeopardy.

L

  1. Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance

    May 2012 | Director Notes

    This report discusses efforts by some companies to incorporate sustainability performance into executive compensation schemes, and provides an overview of recent shareholder proposals filed on this topic.

  2. Link Between Brand Value and Sustainability

    October 2013 | Director Notes

    Across a range of industries, regions, and enterprise values, there is a correlation between a company’s sustainability performance and the strength of its brand for consumers.

  3. Link Between Corporate Citizenship and Financial Performance

    February 1999 | Research Report

    Does playing the good corporate citizen help your organization? This report finds: Sometimes.

  4. Link between Human Capital and Sustainability

    December 2013 | Executive Action Report

    A good understanding of the link between human capital and sustainability can help company directors identify how investing in the right sustainability programs can drive significant improvements in human capital.

M

  1. Making a Case for Corporate Sustainability Reporting

    May 2003 | Executive Action Report

    Key stakeholders are driving the move toward "triple bottom line" reporting, in which companies document the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of their businesses.

  2. Managing Corporate Citizenship Implications of Offshoring

    July 2005 | Executive Action Report

    How can companies handle operational downsizing/offshoring while treating its departing employees with respect and maintaining its reputation in the community?

  3. Managing Supply Chain Sustainability and Risk

    July 2014 | Director Notes

    Addressing supply chain risk and sustainability in isolation may put a firm at considerable risk. Companies should pursue strategies that recognize that supply chain risk and sustainability are inextricably intertwined.

  4. Managing for a Carbon-Concerned Future
    A Decision-Making Framework

    May 2007 | Research Report

    Kyoto Protocol or not, most U.S. companies are feeling pressure to measure their carbon footprints, and, for both financial and environmental reasons, to manage or lower their carbon emissions.

  5. Measuring the Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility

    April 2011 | Director Notes

    This report discusses a model for measuring the efficient and effective use of corporate resources allocated to CSR activities.

  6. Moving the World - A Case Study in CSR Partnership

    November 2005 | Executive Action Report

    Moving the World, a partnership between the international company TNT and the United Nations, shows how two organizations can combine  strengths to make a difference ?and increase competitiveness and reputation.

  7. Measure of Success: Evaluating Corporate Citizenship Performance

    August 2005 | Research Report

    This report presents a discussion of the evolution of corporate citizenship and how the political debates surrounding the topic have influenced measurement practice.

N

  1. Navigating Energy Management: A Roadmap for Business

    September 2005 | Executive Action Report

    Businesses today are more focused on “managing” energy than at any other time in recent decades. However, are business opportunities being missed because many companies are approaching energy management in an unsystematic fashion, or not at all?

  2. New EU Directive Means Greater Corporate Environmental Liability Exposure

    February 2004 | Executive Action Report

    Once a new controversial law is passed, companies already operating in the EU will see their environmental liability exposure increase.

R

  1. Ready or Not: Companies and the Sustainability Tipping Point

    February 2010 | Executive Action Report

    The challenge for companies is how to make sustainability-centric approaches deliver not only on the financial bottom line but also on a broader platform of ecological and social accountabilities and goals that make up the sustainability blend.

  2. Rebuilding Trust in Business . . .Corporate Social Responsibility in the 21st Century

    January 2004 | Executive Action Report

    The business of doing business affects the larger society. If all commercial decisions had an indisputable social benefit, choices would be easy, but sometimes trade-offs have to be made.

  3. Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?

    November 2007 | Research Report

    The costs and benefits of various options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. are mapped in an effort to support policy design and inform strategy.

  4. Reporting on Corporate Sustainability Performance

    October 2012 | Director Notes

    This report presents an analysis of 94 sustainability reports published by Canadian corporations in 10 sectors. The results reveal incredible diversity in the performance indicators disclosed, both across and within sectors.

  5. Review of Shareholder Proposals on Environmental Issues

    October 2012 | Director Notes

    This report looks at shareholder proposals on environmental issues that were voted during the 2012 proxy season to determine which issues were most often brought to boards and which received the greatest support from shareholders.

  6. Reward Trumps Risk: How Business Perspectives on Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability Are Changing

    November 2006 | Executive Action Report

    Companies see more reward than risk in corporate citizenship and sustainability issues, but struggle to capitalize on their programs in the marketplace.

  7. Risk and Opportunity in the Gathering Climate Change Storm

    February 2007 | Executive Action Report

    In the absence of organized global response to climate change, business must prepare to minimize risks—and know they can realize competitive advantage by doing so.

  8. Roadmap for Strategic Energy Planning and Management

    July 2005 | Research Report

    Strategic energy management offers substantial potential financial returns as well as benefits ranging from improving operations effectiveness and reducing costs to expanding or establishing markets and improving stakeholder relations.

  9. Road to Sustainability: Business’ First Steps

    January 2002 | Research Report

    The essence of current sustainability thinking is ensuring the long-term survival of global society. What can individual companies do to contribute to the ultimate success of sustainability?

  10. Role of Business in Society
    An Agenda for Action

    November 2006 | Research Report

    This report explores why the role of business in society is on the agenda of the Chief Executive and Board of leading international companies and what they can do about it.

  11. Role of the Board in Accelerating the Adoption of Integrated Reporting

    November 2011 | Director Notes

    This report examines the concept of integrated reporting and its current state of adoption around the globe.

S

  1. Shareholder Proposals on Social and Environmental Issues

    December 2014 | Director Notes

    Political spending and climate change, key topics during the proxy 2014 season, are expected to feature heavily again in 2015 shareholder proposals.

  2. Shift in U.S. Policy on Climate Change Opens a New Era for Business

    May 2009 | Executive Action Report

    It's no longer business as usual when it comes to climate change. A significant change of direction for U.S. regulatory policy on the issue will eventually affect all of business.

  3. Social Issues in the 2013 Proxy Season

    September 2013 | Director Notes

    More than half of the shareholder proposals on social issues submitted at Russell 3000 companies that held meetings during the first half of 2013 went to a vote.

  4. Stakeholder Dialogue in Germany, Italy, and the United States

    July 2012 | Director Notes

    This Director Notes describes the results of an international survey on 249 stakeholder dialogue (SD) initiatives undertaken by firms in Germany, Italy, and the United States.

  5. Sustainability Matters 2013: How Companies Communicate and Engage on Sustainability

    February 2013 | Research Report

    How are companies addressing what they have defined as their corporate sustainability responsibilities? This report provides an answer through a multifaceted examination of current sustainability practices.

  6. Sustainability Matters 2014: How Sustainability Can Enhance Corporate Reputation

    January 2014 | Research Report

    Brand recognition and reputation are among the most valuable intangible assets of any company. In turn, sustainability initiatives have the potential to significantly impact corporate brand and reputation.

  7. Sustainability Matters: Why and How Corporate Boards Should Become Involved

    October 2011 | Research Report

    This report highlights issues to consider when approaching the task of overseeing a sustainability strategy.

  8. Sustainability Practices: 2012 Edition

    July 2012 | Research Report

    In FY2010, companies in the telecommunications services and utilities sectors were most likely to release sustainability reports, while companies in the materials sector were least likely to offer comprehensive disclosure.

  9. Sustainability Practices: 2013 Edition

    July 2013 | Research Report

    In 2012, in terms of relative environmental footprint, the sector with the smallest footprint was the financials sector; the sectors with the largest environmental footprints were materials, utilities, and energy.

  10. Sustainability from the Inside Out

    July 2013 | KnowlEdge Series Summaries

    Leaders in the field share insights for focusing sustainability efforts with key performance indicators, building the function within an organization, and expressing the value of sustainability in business terms.

  11. Sustainability in the Boardroom

    June 2010 | Director Notes

    Despite formal assignment of responsibilities to top business leaders, many companies still lack the structural framework to enable proper director oversight of corporate sustainability.

  12. Sustainability in the Boardroom: A 2013 Update

    March 2013 | Director Notes

    According to a survey, when sustainability oversight is made a primary responsibility of senior management, it tends to fall to the CEO or another senior executive reporting to the CEO.

  13. Sustainability Business Case: A Model for Incorporating Financial Value Drivers

    June 2013 | Director Notes

    Many past sustainability business case analyses have not effectively incorporated key financial value drivers into the discussion. Companies should consider a framework to link environmental actions to financial value drivers.

U

  1. Using Market Mechanisms in Environmental Regulation

    June 1998 | Research Report

    Will the market drive companies to "better" behavior regarding the environment? Here's a look at answers to that question.

W

  1. World Summit on Sustainable Development: Why Business Should Care

    March 2002 | Executive Action Report

    Explains why businesses need to care about the World Summit on Sustainable Development and what they can expect from it.

  2. Water Worries: How Incorporating Long-Term Risk into Strategic Planning Pays Off

    June 2012 | Council Perspectives

    How companies manage risk, opportunity, and scarcity today will determine the long-term value they create for stakeholders and society, and the world’s dwindling water resources are a pivotal case in point.

  3. What Board Members Should Know About Communicating CSR

    March 2011 | Director Notes

    This report discusses what to communicate (i.e., message content) and where (i.e., message channel), as well as the major factors (internal and external to the organization) that affect the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility communication.

  4. What Is Human Rights Risk? Should My Company Be Concerned about It?

    September 2013 | Executive Action Report

    Explore what human rights risk is, why companies should care, and how they can incorporate human rights due diligence into their business processes.

  5. Who's Holding You Accountable? Christine Bader wants to fill companies with corporate idealists.

    April 2014 | The Conference Board Review

    A Q&A with "corporate idealist" Christine Bader, who spent nine years at BP and now seeks to aid those who want to help corporations both do good and do well.

Benchmarking Corporate Philanthropy

Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition analyzes giving trends by 261 of the world's largest companies.

Download the complimentary report here

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