announced the results of the 2012 Greening of Corporate America study, issued in conjunction with
. This is the third in a series of reports initiated in 2006 to investigate the emerging trend of corporate sustainability. The survey was conducted again this year to determine how corporate sustainability has continued to evolve and understand how the nation’s largest companies are institutionalizing sustainability into business policy and practice.
“Since 2006 we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how corporate sustainability is transforming business,” said Ari Kobb, director, Sustainability & Green Building Solutions, Siemens Building Technologies division. “In only six years, it has grown from being a fledgling concept to becoming a standard element of corporate strategy. Companies are no longer incorporating sustainability simply out of obligation.”
The 2006 study demonstrated a fundamental shift in the attitudes and practices of our nation's leading corporations regarding the greening of their operations and commitments to sustainability. By 2009, the new Corporate Sustainability Officer position had emerged within corporations and standard sustainability practices were being integrated into everyday operations and business growth. Key highlights of the 2012 study include:
- Corporate America shows continued progress along the Corporate Green Spectrum from 2006 to 2012.
- The percentage of firms that are highly engaged in sustainability has risen from 18% in 2006 to 42% in the 2012 study, while the percentage of firms viewing environmental initiatives as costs or required based on legal obligations alone fell from 33% in 2006 to 17% in 2012.
- The influence of the Chief Sustainability Officer position continues to rise, as does the creation of dedicated sustainability budgets.
- Energy and cost savings remain the most important drivers encouraging sustainability in Corporate America, while financial considerations such as the state of the economy and budget issues are the greatest obstacles to broader adoption.
“It is exciting to see that corporate America’s investments in sustainability continue to grow and that it is becoming more integrated within their business practices,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president of Industry Insights & Alliances at McGraw-Hill Construction. “It is also important to note that corporate leaders are increasingly expecting significant social and health benefits from sustainability that move beyond operating cost savings. About half of the executives we surveyed expect both lower healthcare costs and greater worker productivity as a result of their sustainability investments.”