The eighth annual State of Green Business report continues GreenBiz’s tradition of opening a window into how, and how much, companies are improving their environmental performance and how much their efforts are making a difference.
This year’s report, produced in partnership with Trucost, a leading research firm focusing on natural capital and sustainability metrics, offers a sobering reality: For all the impressive work that companies are doing to embed sustainability into their operations, from the planetary perspective it’s not really changing much.
Although, it’s not all doom and gloom. The world of sustainable business remains vibrant, innovative and maturing, as companies take on new and bigger challenges. Notable in the annual depiction of 10 trends for the year ahead are both risks (stranded assets could wreak havoc on some companies’ balance sheets) and opportunities (open and distributed energy, agriculture and other technologies stand to disrupt markets, creating sizeable opportunities for innovators). And there are continued signs of hopeful progress, such as the growing number of corporate commitments around renewable energy purchases, and the burgeoning trend of companies adopting science-based sustainability goals. All of which makes the world of sustainable business fascinating and dynamic.
As always, GreenBiz examines 10 key trends to follow in the coming year. The 10 key trends for 2015 are:
- Stranded assets become a corporate liability
- Sustainability solutions become open and distributed
- Supply chains become more transparent
- Water risk trickles from awareness to action
- Big business leads the charge for renewable power
- Companies turn to science-based goals
- Food waste emerges from the dumpster
- Money flows where sustainability grows
- Companies catalyse climate action in cities
- Conservation investing’s stock rises
The report also contains the annual State of Green Business Index, an assessment of sustainability performance over the past five years for the largest 500 US companies, as well as the largest 1,600 companies globally. Produced in collaboration with natural capital analysts Trucost, the 2015 assessment includes more than 20 corporate sustainability performance indicators. This section includes:
- The Big Picture: Metrics included in this section aim to answer an overarching question — are companies making meaningful progress towards environmental sustainability?
- Key Issues: This research uses greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste as three key measures of progress on corporate sustainability.
- Corporate Leadership: An examination of different measures of corporate leadership in environmental sustainability.