Ensuring continuous corporate environmental improvement

Enhancing industry environmental performance standards
Building corporate environmental reputation
To continue to improve corporate environmental policies, programmes and performance, taking into account technical developments, scientific understanding and evolving legal regulation.

Business and corporations must update their practices constantly in light of advances in technology and new understandings in health and environmental science in ways that accommodate environmental realities. Companies must make consistent, measurable progress in implementing environmental improvements and apply them to all aspects of their operations throughout the world.

Companies must reduce and make continual progress toward eliminating the release of any substance that may cause environmental damage to the air, water, or the earth or its inhabitants. They must safeguard all habitats affected by their operations and protect open spaces and wilderness, while preserving biodiversity.

Factories operate in local, national and international markets where many agents can affect revenues and costs. Environmental considerations now affect the decisions of many of these agents. In both industrial and developing countries, environmentalism in the middle and upper classes is a significant factor in consumer decisions. With the worldwide advent of environmental legislation, investors are also scrutinizing environmental performance. Among other factors, they have to weigh the potential for financial losses from regulatory penalties and liability settlements. International and local suppliers of financing, industrial equipment, and engineering services are increasingly reluctant to do business with flagrant polluters.

In the future, business will need to achieve and demonstrate continuous improvement. Business must recognize that there is growing stakeholder awareness that business decisions are skewed when environmental performance, costs, and liabilities are not integrated into the strategic decision-making of companies. Increasingly, business will be required to demonstrate management of environmental and social issues along with traditional financial performance to secure the social license to operate.

Economic, social and environmental impact form a "triple bottom line" which could provide the benchmark of a company's performance and an opportunity for companies to engage more fully with stakeholders. Global consumers have already demonstrated that they will penalize companies that abuse them.

The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) initiative was launched in 1989. This business led environmental reporting initiative involves a wide range of stakeholders, including investors, financial institutions, host communities, corporations and their employees, and environmental groups. Companies who adopt the CERES Principles commit themselves to a range of environment and sustainable development principles promoting continuous corporate environmental improvement.
Environmental reputation matters for companies whose expected costs or revenues are affected by judgments of environmental performance by customers, suppliers, and stockholders. Many factors can affect a company's evaluation of their environmental reputation, including company size, export orientation, and multinational ownership. For reputationally-sensitive companies, public certification of good or bad performance may translate to large expected gains or losses over time.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal