Does Your Sustainability Report Address Climate Change Risks?

by | Aug 15, 2007

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Companies should talk just as honestly and realistically about the risks, threats, and problems they face on the sustainability front as they do about the opportunities being embraced, according to a post by Karl Weber in The Triple Bottom Line’s blog.

An article from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development highlights a recent study of 50 sample GRI reports from companies around the world. The study found that most companies shy away from addressing or even mentioning the downside of today’s leading sustainability issues.

This lack of information on risks is in spite of evidence from a number of sources, including the UK government’s Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change, that say that climate change has serious ramifications for the world’s economy.

“It’s obvious that, in business as in life, there are practically no positives without corresponding negatives,” Weber writes. “And that certainly applies to sustainability. Take global warming as an example. Can you imagine a food company that isn’t thinking about how climate change may affect their supply chain in the coming decades? A real estate developer that isn’t looking at the effects of coastal flooding? A home supply company that isn’t examining how water shortages and heat waves will impact house and garden designs?”

Just yesterday, Ceres released information saying that 43 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed with US companies this year, of which 15 led to positive actions by businesses such as ConocoPhillips, Wells Fargo and Hartford Insurance.

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