Corporate Boards and Investors Should Partner on Sustainability

A new white paper from Ernst & Young asks corporate boards if they are ready for investors to focus on sustainability. According to GreenBiz.com, this is the third year in a row that sustainability has dominated major proposal categories.

Sustainable investors have gone mainstream, with the total  votes in support of environmental and social issues reaching 21 percent in 2011.  Investors are looking to companies to focus on the risks and opportunities that are associated with sustainability issues. Ernst & Young writes that this “reflect[s] the growing belief that a company’s environmental and social policies correlate strongly with its risk management approach and financial performance.”

As investors continue to seek greater accountability, they will challenge boards to further improve oversight on environmental and social issues, as well as increase the dialogue surrounding these topics.The white paper cites Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard CO, Chesapeake Energy Company, KB Home and PulteGroup Inc. as leaders in using engagement to achieve success.

As media coverage and legislation increasingly capture the eyes of investors, corporations will be asked to share information about the labor conditions of their global supply chain and the impacts of resource extraction practices.

For additional information on how investors are going to play an increased role in corporate sustainability in 2012, you can read the entire white paper from Ernst & Young here.

Have you seen an increase in investor questions on your company’s sustainability endeavors? Are these ideas you have already adopted?

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