Quo Vadis for Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment for This New Year?

G&A's SustainabilityHighlights (1.11.2017)
Jan 12, 2017 12:50 PM ET

Quo Vadis for Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment for This New …

Welcome to 2017 -- Quo Vadis for Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment for This New Year?

At the outset of the Year 2016 we were seeing so many (mostly) positive trends converging in a critical mass that spelled out "s-u-c-c-e-s-s-f-u-l" year ahead for sustainability professionals, whether they toiled in the corporate sector, in the capital markets, in NGO offices, in the public sector, and so on.  In January 2016 we began to explore these trends one-by-one and in the collective, to develop commentary around the respective themes and developments. 

Throughout the year, a good number of U.S. and global thought leaders and sustainability influencers were publicly sharing excellent content on each or several of the trends and we incorporated that shared input in essays that would help to illustrate the point that important trends were converging -- especially in 2015 and into 2016. 

These trends were (and for now, still are) very promising for sustainability professionals.  The result was a collection of these essays gathered in one volume:  "Trends Converging:  A Look Ahead of the Curve for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Professionals."

So what did we see coming together in 2016 -- and what's ahead for 2017 now that we have a new Administration and a new U.S. Congress in place?  Will the positive trends fade in influence, diminishing the value of the public and private sectors' focus on creating a more sustainable nation -- and global society -- through positive actions?  What do you think?

There are two parts to that question/answer: 

(1) As for the promise of 2016 trends, you can explore these in the collection of our essays available with our team's compliments on the Governance & Accountability Institute web site. Click here for more information on how to download.

(2) And looking into 2017:  Yes, there will likely be changes, some perhaps dramatic, that may divert the course of the Federal government, state and municipal governments in terms of addressing climate change and other pressing societal issues. And that may perhaps lessen some of the pressures on the holdouts in Corporate America that are not yet embarked on their sustainability journey.   (In our 2016 survey, we determined that 99 of the S&P 500® universe of companies were not reporting on the journey.)

We're keeping the monitoring & charting effort going at G&A Institute and sharing perspective on the trends we described in 2016, and the updates to these -- and new developments -- for the year 2017.  We invite you to share your news, research and perspectives on these trends, and others that we have not yet addressed in our trend-watching.  (We got to about 50 trends and stopped the writing at that point in Fall 2016.) 

This is just a sample of some of the articles from this weeks SustainabilityHQ Highlights.  You can view the full Highlights by using the following links. Sustainability | ESG, Highlights for the Week of January 11, 2017