Starting sustainability initiatives and carrying out related strategy within institutions alone may be an involved process at times. How projects form determines end game value rendered; or simply whether anything like the goal initially perceived is ever accomplished.
Sustain NC service projects framed by the Sustain NC Service Model also supports that initiating ‘small bets’ sustainable innovation platform with crosscutting, multidisciplinary players offering POVs coming from a range of organizational missions and capabilities. For North Carolina professionals with sustainability innovation interests, these smaller interactions and innovations nonetheless eventually build on each other and affect some of the most significant matters facing the people of North Carolina, the nation, and beyond in this era.
In time these intellectual combinations and other resources developed—along with the knowledge management value from past Sustain NC service projects—will continually enhance this Sustain NC innovation ecosystem and the Sustain NC social business database. Join Sustain NC.
There are a large number of executives and independent citizens in North Carolina with energy, environmental, social, and governance (EESG)—or other sustainability topics—in their mission now. We should band together in new ways not otherwise offered to our state at this point.
Here’s a good example of why sustainability is a central strategy issue now from a business perspective. Many of these issues in Deloitte’s 2016 Sustainability disclosure: Getting ahead of the curve report should be core to government and nonprofit matters as well. After all most activity in the United States is in the business sector. North Carolina leaders from all sectors who see these business-centric and other sustainability-related need a new home and that’s Sustain NC:
A closer look at [corporate sustainability related] heightened risks
Broadly, ESG (environmental, social, and governance risks) issues present three types of reporting-related risks to businesses:
Legal and disclosure risk. The moderate pace of standardized ESG reporting in the US compared to other countries is thought by some to reflect fear that expanded disclosure may be used against companies in today’s litigious environment. A greater risk, however, could lie in the absence of reporting or for failing to implement a rigorous, disciplined reporting program that provides accurate and transparent information to stakeholders and authorities.
Competitive risk. ESG performance is increasingly a consideration when deciding whether to buy a company’s products or to work for a particular company. Price and functionality, or pay and benefits, usually trump other considerations. But sustainability topics are progressively driving more of these considerations as a generation that’s coming of age amid environmental and economic strains and continuing global strife assumes buying power and investment decisions.
Market valuation risk. A top question among corporate board members and executives regarding the value of ESG initiatives and disclosure is whether such investments add shareholder value. Recent research shows that US sustainable investment grew from $1 out of every $9 of assets in 2012 to $1 out of $6 in 2014, according to investment banking firm Morgan Stanley. And firms that actively pursue improvements in ESG metrics tend to have lower costs of capital and higher operational and stock price performance.1 In addition, Harvard Business School research found that “firms with good performance on material sustainability issues significantly outperform firms with poor performance on these issues, suggesting that investments in sustainability issues are shareholder-value enhancing.”2
1 “Sustainable Reality: Understanding the Performance of Sustainable Investment Strategies,” Morgan Stanley, March 2015.
2 “Corporate Sustainability: First Evidence on Materiality” working paper, Mozaffar Khan, George Serafeim, Aaron Yoon, Harvard Business School, Copyright © 2015.