Category Archives: Green Accounting

Small Businesses Lag on Sustainability: What To Do About It

All the recent headlines about corporate sustainability initiatives are encouraging: Fortune 500 companies are embracing environmental sustainability like never before, investing millions of dollars in greener operations and making sustainability a key part of their business strategy.

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Sustainability lessons from Wal-Mart’s former CEO

The corporate sustainability realm has few conversations that do not eventually turn to Wal-Mart Stores. It’s nearly impossible to be neutral about the retail giant, whether it be over its impact on local business, procurement, employment and health care practices, prescription-drug offerings or its sustainability efforts that dig deep into the supply chain.

And so, it was fitting that Lee Scott, the former CEO who led Wal-Mart’s embrace of CSR, was a speaker Tuesday at the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy’s Energy Innovation Summit. Sustainability is not necessarily a core part of every project ARPA-E helps fund, but each share the principles of improving on current practices, boosting efficiencies and succeeding economically.

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More CFOs Are Being Thrust into the Role of a ‘Chief Sustainability Officer’

The CFO’s responsibilities are ever-increasing — with finance chiefs sometimes overseeing everything from IT to corporate counsel to HR. Now, add the sustainability effort to their workload at more and more corporations.

In a new working paper, Harvard Business School’s Robert Eccles and George Serafeim and London Business School’s Ioannis Ioannou report that, according to their study of 180 companies, those firms that voluntarily adopted environmental and socially responsible policies many years ago (“high-sustainability companies”) outperform ones with almost no sustainability-related policies. The outperformance is measured both in stock price and accounting performance. High-sustainability companies also are more likely to link top-executive pay to sustainability metrics.

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