Customer Demands are Driving Sustainability Goal-Setting Into a New Era

New report by the National Association for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) Management (NAEM) reveals best practices and horizon issues for sustainability goals
Oct 9, 2019 11:30 AM ET

October 7, 2019 /3BL Media/ - Customers are the most important stakeholders influencing how companies set sustainability priorities, define goals and respond to external requests for environment, social and governance (ESG) information, according to a new report by NAEM.

Among the EHS&S leaders surveyed by NAEM, 68% use, or are planning to use, a formal materiality assessment to identify the issues that most affect their business. And customers are at the top of the list of key influences driving that agenda, NAEM’s research found.

“As customers continue to demand sustainability performance from the products and services they purchase, the sustainability imperative is working its way through the entire business ecosystem,” said NAEM Executive Director Carol Singer Neuvelt. “Sustainability is fast becoming an expectation on par with price and quality.”

The latest benchmark report, “Setting the Next Generation of Sustainability Goals,” provides details on the goal-setting process, including data on the governance process, how customer inquiries evolve into goals and which issues are next on the agenda. It also features case studies from leadership companies and advice for those who are just setting out.

“Behind each new sustainability target is months of hard work to identify priorities, align resources and create organizational commitment to the future. This report captures insights from the internal leaders who are stewarding this process from idea to reality,” Ms. Neuvelt said.

Craig Riley, Director of Sustainability Services for AECOM, said sustainability goal-setting has evolved into a highly strategic practice, aligned with business risks and designed to achieve meaningful results.

“We’re in a new era of corporate sustainability,” he said. “If you’re doing it right, the [sustainability] goal-setting process can be one of the most complex aspects of sustainability management today.”

"Setting the Next Generation of Sustainability Goals" is available for complimentary download from NAEM’s website, thanks to financial support from AECOM.

About NAEM

The National Association for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces, and promote global sustainability. As the leading business community for EHS&S decision-makers, we provide engaging forums, a curated network, peer benchmarking, research insights and tools for solving today’s corporate EHS&S management challenges. Visit us online at