A Little Secret – Sustainability Leadership at the Business Roundtable
The report contains statements by nearly 100 CEOs on their businesses’ commitments to lower emissions, increased energy efficiency and pursue more sustainable business practices. A little research also showed that over half of the featured companies in this report use
So why is this significant and how does this relate to activities of other CEO-led associations? According to
What about the other members of the Business Roundtable or the S&P500? Just like their GRI-reporting peers, they all continuously invest millions of dollars in policies, systems, processes, monitoring, auditing and reporting. Think about quality, environmental and occupational safety systems. Many also have stakeholder engagement processes in place (perhaps without using the term 'stakeholders'). These include customer and employees satisfaction surveys, philanthropic activities and community outreach efforts. These are all part of continuous efforts designed to manage risks, and do more and better business. And all of these activities can provide the information and context needed to produce a disciplined, balanced and more widely accepted GRI-type reporting that transcends the credibility discount applied to ‘PR brochures’.
Why are so many S&P 500 companies not leveraging their major investments to provide a better context, show off their commitments and highlight continuous improvement?
A look at
What does all of this mean for US businesses and their ‘clubs’. The Business Roundtable’s ‘Enhancing Our Commitment to a Sustainable Future’ is an admirable statement. But it seems that very similar statements are being made by almost every industry and professional association across the US. It has turned into one of those motherhood and apple pie statements.
Are such statements credible and sufficient value for membership money? Or are due-paying members expecting more? Looking at sustainability related leadership efforts of industry associations, ICMM's actions strike me as most impressive and real value for its membership (and let me not forget: their stakeholders).
What’s next? Should the Business Roundtable and other leadership-driven business associations take their cue from ICMM? I would welcome your comments.
PS - And here tipping my hat to GRI reporting contingent in the BRT publication: ABB, Abbott, Accenture, Alcoa, American Electric Power, AT&T, CB Richard Ellis Group, CH2MHill, Chevron, Coca-Cola, ConnocoPhillips, Cummins, Darden, Deloitte, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, EMC, ExxonMobil, Freeport McMoran, Harrah’s Entertainment, HSBC, IBM, Ingersoll Rand, ITT, Johnson & Johnson, Johnson Controls, Life Technologies, McKesson, Merck & Co, Motorola, NextEra (formerly FPL), Office Depot, Owens Corning, PepsiCo, Praxair, Proctor & Gamble, Ryder, Sara Lee, SAS Institute, Siemens, Southern Company, Target, UAL, Weyerhaeuser, Whirlpool, Williams Companies, Xerox.
About the author: Mehrdad Nazari (MBA, MSc, LEAD Fellow) is a Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability Reporting & ESIA Advisor, and Director of