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The Sustainability Yearbook


February 2022
More companies calling climate change a 'material issue’ as stress testing gains traction

The destructive effects of climate change have upended lives and economies for decades, and 2021 was no exception: from flooding in Europe and Canada and wildfires in the U.S. to growing water scarcity and agricultural disruption, the human and financial costs were great. The number of weather-related disasters has risen 5x from the 1970s to the 2010s, with economic losses related to those events reaching $1.38 trillion in the 2010-2019 decade, the World Meteorological Organization said in August 2021.

More than ever before, companies are taking the risk seriously.

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February 2022
Nature is climbing the agenda, but corporate biodiversity commitments remain rare

Companies are making modest progress in their commitments to protect biodiversity and nature, an issue that is capturing more attention in the corporate world as 2022 shapes up to be a pivotal year in the broader quest to halt ecosystem destruction across the globe.

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February 2022
COVID-19 upended employee expectations – now companies must adapt

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 dealt a blow to the world's economies and prompted many people to rethink their work-related priorities. That ultimately led many employees to leave their jobs or switch career tracks in 2021 in a global trend dubbed the Great Resignation.

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February 2022
Progress toward corporate diversity requires more than ticked boxes and token hires

The social aspect of the ESG movement can be harder to pin down than the environmental or governance components. But social issues have gained prominence in the corporate world during the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result companies are increasingly turning to diversity, equity and inclusion as part of the effort to grapple with the S in ESG.

Many companies have embarked on their diversity journey, recognizing the benefits that can be felt beyond improved financial metrics. Increasing diversity can create a virtuous cycle, improving businesses’ ability to attract and retain talent. Companies with diverse workforces and management teams are more appealing to employees, who are more likely to stay where they feel included. Companies that are willing to look outside their usual networks can also tap into sources of talent that others are neglecting. And research has shown that more diversity in workforces and leadership teams is associated with improved profit, market and economic outcomes.

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February 2022
Most companies aren't setting basic climate targets, putting net zero out of reach

The rising wave of major companies announcing ambitious, long-term emissions targets made “net zero” one of the top sustainability buzzwords of 2021. Large corporates around the world have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions as close to zero as possible and offset the remainder, usually by the distant deadline of 2050.

These announcements have grabbed headlines and give the impression that the corporate world is moving to tackle climate change. But the reality is more complicated.

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February 2021
Rethinking the value of everything

Current measures of value are too narrowly focused on measuring growth and progress in terms of goods and services consumed and produced. This myopic view has created an unsustainable system that rewards the short-term and discounts the long-term. But conventional metrics and methods of today’s accounting will not work for a sustainable tomorrow.

New mandates, new metrics and new methodologies are needed to help companies and economies recalibrate for the future. We advocate a rethink on what constitutes value creation as well as how to measure and monetize it. With a wealth of corporate sustainability data, analytical tools and long-term orientation, ESG research and ratings providers like S&P Global will be key collaborative partners in defining a new way of assessing value that ensures the interests of all stakeholders are represented and aligned.

Learn how value is measured in investment portfolios, corporate and economic performance
February 2021
Identification and management of new risks – key gaps and recommendations

While considered necessary, managing risks from a compliance perspective has been shown to be far from sufficient for managing larger unexpected events triggered by external factors.

S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) asks questions about emerging risks, risk culture, and risk governance. This article analyzes companies reporting on emerging risks and shows how a strong risk culture can arm companies with useful tools to both identify and prepare for these events. Our Media and Stakeholder Analysis (MSA) then considers the relationship between a company’s risk culture and the probability of it being subject to controversies.

Finally, the external contributions of RepRisk and Tilman & Company provide two compelling perspectives on the topic: (1) Why is the role of ESG risk due diligence essential to identify disruptive risk events from an investor point of view?, and (2) How can leaders successfully navigate a volatile and unpredictable environment occasioned by the occurrence of such disruptive risk events?

Learn how companies will shape a more sustainable future
February 2021
Gender equality in the workplace: going beyond women on the board

According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality based on the current rate of progress. This prediction has been widely used as a shock therapy to push governments, NGOs, associations, investors and companies into action. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, efforts will have to be doubled if we are to avoid losing another 10 years to achieve gender equality.

The percentage of women in the total workforce has stayed relatively stable, averaging around 35% over the past five years. However, the proportion of women decreases as we move up the corporate ladder. How can companies ensure that they retain their women talent and close this gap between the proportion of women in junior management and in senior management?

Learn what steps are needed to improve gender equality in the workforce
February 2021
Driving the energy transition: more than just hedging downside demand

The energy transition encompasses many different angles. These include, but are not limited to, oil and gas diversification, automotive and transport transformation, alternative drive train adoption at the commercial versus consumer level, and renewable energy opportunities.

In this article, we will narrow our focus and assess how the electrification of transport within the broader energy transition, and more specifically the adoption of Electric Vehicles, represents material risks and opportunities as reported by companies in the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) and scenario forecasts for automotive and energy companies.

Learn about the material risks and opportunities presented by the electrification of transport
February 2021
Packaging the future: a material matter

Circular Economy, resource scarcity and conscious consumption; the last decade has borne witness to an exponential rise in the interest in circularity and closed loop systems from companies, consumers, governments and investors. The topic of plastic use – particularly packaging – has been at the heart of this conversation, as our single-use consumer habits have been examined, and images of unmanaged waste exhibiting household brand names have garnered global attention. Circular principles have multi-trillion-dollar implications.

Stakeholders along the value chain need to work together to collectively stop the linear flow of packaging into our waste streams and our natural environment, while ensuring that we are preserving the value of the materials.

How and why is this topic financially material? And how can companies better reflect performance in plastic and packaging metrics?

Learn why plastic use in packaging is a financially material issue

2021 Annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment

  • 61

    INDUSTRIES

  • 7.5k

    COMPANIES ASSESSEDas of Jan. 21, 2022

  • 140k

    DOCUMENTS UPLOADED

  • 13.4m

    DATA POINTS COLLECTED