Corporate Sustainability Reaches Middle Age

Siemens Cover

Since 2006, Dodge Data & Analytics have partnered with Siemens every three years to examine how executives in corporate America have continued to embrace corporate sustainability over time. The findings from the 2015 survey, the fourth issuance, reveal a maturing of the field, and highlight a growing divide between companies that believe in the bottom-line benefits of sustainability and those that do not.

Overall, corporate America continues to increase its commitment to corporate sustainability. The percentage of companies that view sustainability as good business have grown significantly since the last issue, with 41% integrating sustainability into corporate strategies in 2015, which is up from just 15% in 2006. This 41% includes those companies that scored 4 on a 5-stage scale. However, in the same period, there has been a slight regression in the number of companies that consider themselves transformational regarding corporate sustainability. Also, there has been a slight increase in the percentage of firms that rank at either stage 1 or stage 2. This statistic went up from 17% in 2012 to 21% in 2015.

This “green gap” is quite significant, as most firms are engaged in aspects of corporate sustainability, like focusing on energy and water conservation, but firms that have a firm commitment to sustainability have a much broader view of the benefits of sustainability. These firms are actively engaged in more activities and have established infrastructure to support this broader vision. They have made more significant goals and commitments and believe that corporate sustainability provides more benefits than just economic factors like cost reduction.