UCLA Institute Of The Environment And Sustainability's 2nd Annual Evening Of Environmental Excellence - Inside

The value placed on sustainable business practices and investments made in companies that embrace environmentally-friendly sustainable operating procedures has truly become de rigueur. You can’t watch TV, walk through the supermarket or read a corporate website without getting bombarded by green, carbon-neutral, organic, energy-efficient messaging. But how much of this is green-washed hype and how much represents concrete steps – often capital investments – made by companies to address these issues?

The fifth annual sustainability report from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and MIT’s Sloan Management Review is designed to answer that question. This year’s survey reveals companies are not making significant progress enacting sustainability initiatives. “For example, while nearly two thirds of respondents rate social and environmental issues as very significant, only 40% report that their organizations are addressing them—and only 10% say their companies are fully tackling these issues,” Boston Consulting said in a statement.

Interestingly, energy companies are among the relatively few corporate interests more likely to be fully engaged with environmental issues. These firms are dubbed “walkers” by the analysts because they “walk the talk,” as opposed to others that fall within the more hyperbolic camp.

“Resource-intensive industries such as commodities and utilities, which must contend with resource scarcity and significant energy costs, are much more likely to be fully engaged with environmental issues (what BCG and MIT call “walkers”), while media and entertainment companies trail (“talkers”),” explains BCG.

Energy companies are also acutely aware of potential future regulatory costs that could impact their balance sheets, which is why some of the largest already factor a carbon price into their strategic financial plans.

The report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,800 executives from 118 countries, can be viewed in full here.