The State of Green Business 2014

State of Green Business, the seventh annual assessment of corporate sustainability trends and metrics, is just out. It paints a picture that is both optimistic and highly problematic.
First, the good news. The state of the art of corporate sustainability continues to evolve. What's business as usual today was not that long ago innovative.

Oakland, Calif., 21 January 2014

In the free report (download here), identifies 10 key trends that point the way toward future advancements and progress in the year ahead. (An interactive iPad edition, also free, will be launched next week.)

Now, the bad news. For all of the advancements and achievements — some of which are chronicled in the more than 1,200 articles we run each year on GreenBiz.com — we're not making much progress. When you actually measure year-on-year progress companies are making, it's a disappointing state of affairs.

That's what GreenBiz does each year in its report, along with their partners at Trucost plc, which helps companies, investors, governments and others "understand the economic consequences of natural capital dependency." Trucost researches and standardizes the environmental performance disclosures of more than 4,600 companies worldwide, representing 93 percent of global markets by market capitalization.

To create the metrics for State of Green Business, Trucost looked at two subsets: the 500 U.S. companies that make up the Standard & Poor's Index, and the MSCI World Index, covering more than 1,600 companies in 24 developed markets. For most metrics GreenBiz presents and compares the 500 U.S. companies alongside the larger, 1,600-plus global universe over a five-year period.

In most cases, the progress is incremental. In some cases, it's flat, or even declining.

Take carbon, for example. Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions among both U.S. and global market indices remain flat. For the five-year period between 2008 and 2012, U.S. emissions were essentially unchanged while global emissions ticked up slightly. All told, it’s a wash.
Tags: Ecosystem valuation | Biodiversity Check | Biodiversity policy


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