This is an important development, as it aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Many of the goals in this framework fall within a variety of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, including accessibility and sustainable management of water and sanitation; reliable and sustainable modern energy for all; promotion of sustainable economic development and useful, decent work for all; construction of resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable industrialization; fighting climate change and its impacts; and strengthening the implementation and revitalization of global partnerships.
In the global marketplace, green technology is critical to sustainable development. Organizations view technology as an effective tool in aligning business objectives with sustainability goals. Companies such as H&M and Puma, inspired by the circular economy model, have teamed up to utilize textile-to-textile recycling technology as part of their business strategy to integrate sustainable practices into corporate operations. By reusing and repurposing old or unused products, companies are, simply put, more sustainable.
Cities all over the world are trying different ways to contribute to global sustainability. One popular practice is the creation of “green” buildings: structures built using sustainable materials or modified to become sustainable. Such structures provide cities with infrastructure that will stand the test of time with little maintenance. This can be achieved through a variety of design innovations, such as the use of renewable sources instead of fossil fuels for energy and the use of renewable materials for renovation.
Experts agree environmental risks are one of the underlying causes of operational issues that negatively impact companies. Disclosing environmental data is an important aspect of corporate transparency valued by stakeholders. In 2014, over 5,000 companies from more than 80 countries chose to report, manage and share vital environmental information through CDP. Why? Because it demonstrates to investors, supply chains and governments that you are managing risks and capitalizing on opportunities, in addition to reducing the impact your operations have on the resources you rely on—all of which attract investors and customers, and strengthen your brand.
According to Maria Garrido, International Marketing Director for international advertising agency Havas, consumers are willing to spend money on a brand if they see it as a meaningful brand. Their operational concept of brand “meaningfulness” consists of three value propositions: 1) marketplace benefits, or the value delivered by products; 2) personal benefits, or the capability of a brand to connect to customers; and 3) collective benefits, or a brand’s overall contribution to society and the environment.
Global organizations regard climate change as a serious business risk that directly impacts their business operations. Climate change leads to environmental risks such as floods, heat stress and droughts, which adversely affect organizations, especially their supply chains, consumers and revenue streams. As a result, people are realizing that the framework we use for conducting business and producing goods and services needs to change.
Sustainability reporting in the corporate setting is an important factor to improve a company’s green initiatives and its relationship with investors and clients, inline with stakeholders’ demand for transparency and accountability. Ernst & Young upholds that sustainability reporting is “a best practice employed by companies worldwide,” as it can help improve practices already in place.
Global organizations recognize the importance of incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations in planning for core businesses. With increasing opportunities arising from trends in global sustainability, companies and their leaders are embracing sustainable development to respond to environmental and social issues that affect the way they operate.
Climatescope, a country-by-country assessment, interactive report and index, conducted a study on the clean energy activities of emerging markets from 55 developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The results revealed that renewable technologies are an energy solution as cost-effective for developing nations as they are for developed ones. Topping the list in the Climatescope 2014 study of developing countries with the most effective clean energy and renewable technology investments are China, Brazil, South Africa, India, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia and Uganda.
Managing energy consumption is an integral component of an organization’s sustainability efforts. By establishing and practicing the right energy management strategies, organizations achieve tangible results reflected in their return on investment (ROI) and productivity reports. Being energy-efficient helps organizations reduce operational costs and lessen carbon activity. If joint global efforts on energy management were universally implemented, a 40% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their 1990 levels will be achieved by 2030, according to a McKinsey report.
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