While an increasing number of organisations are painting a valid picture of sustainability success, the reality is that on a global scale they are far from reaching solutions. The Tomorrow’s Value Research (TVR) 2012 from Two Tomorrows reveals that, in the drive for greater transparency, companies risk becoming too introspective and losing sight of the bigger sustainability picture.
Now in its ninth year, the Tomorrow’s Value Research (TVR) provides a unique insight into the sustainability practices of the world’s largest companies. Two Tomorrows assessed the 25 largest companies by revenue in each of three different regions (the Americas; Asia/Australia; Europe, the Middle East and Africa) plus the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Supersector Leaders.
Todd Cort, director of the TVR, notes a disturbing trend revealed by the research: “Large companies around the world are providing greater transparency in the form of metrics, targets and descriptions of their management approaches. This is evident in the continual rise in GRI reporters. However, it is evident that companies are losing sight of the big picture: Are we successfully addressing the global challenges that we all face? Such challenges require collaborative solutions.
“Through the research, we have seen that the vast majority of metrics, targets and management approaches look away from collaborative efforts. Instead, they focus on sustainability aspects within the company’s sphere of control. Companies are becoming too introspective.”
The TVR 2012 highlights companies such as HP, Panasonic and Siemens who demonstrate best practice in their sustainability programmes. However, less than a third of the largest companies crossed the TVR’s 70 per cent leadership threshold. Even among the DJSI Supersector Leaders, performance was mixed – only 10 of the 19 DJSI Supersector Leaders scored 70 per cent or more.
The 2012 Tomorrow’s Value Research also identifies sector and regional strengths. Europe continues to drive best practice in sustainability, but the greatest improvements in reporting have occurred in large Asian companies.
Not surprisingly, technology companies have taken the lead in applying innovation to environmental and social challenges. These companies also lead the way in integrating stakeholder feedback into their innovation processes.
The most robust management and governance structures remain in the traditional high-risk industries such as oil and gas.
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