Corporate Environmental & Sustainability Governance Survey results for 2013

27 August 2013

Corporate sustainability – manufacturing substantially beats government

100% of manufacturers have environmental and sustainability policies, conducted energy audits, and implemented energy efficient processes. In comparison, only 69% of government services organizations undertook energy audits, just 85% have energy and sustainability policies, while 82% implemented energy efficient processes.

Regulatory compliance for the environment and greenhouse gases (GHG) is set to be the most important driver of sustainability measures for many companies over the next three years, while offsetting carbon emissions was not common and is only carried out by 1 in 5 respondents.

The government and services sector is substantially lagging manufacturing in the provision of many sustainability practices, according to the ‘Corporate Environmental & Sustainability Governance Survey for 2013, released today by leading independent standards company BSI incorporating NCSI.

While responses came from a 19 different industry sectors, including heavy industrial, food, resources, construction, the government and the service industry sector and manufacturing represented more than 50% of respondents. Nearly a quarter of the responses were from ASX listed corporations.

According to the biannual survey, 100% of manufacturers indicated they have environmental and sustainability policies, conducted energy audits, and implemented energy efficient processes.
Significantly, only 69% of government services organisations undertook energy audits, just 85% have energy and sustainability policies, while 82% implemented energy efficient processes in 2012

“There are exceptions to these findings, with government and services performing more robustly than manufacturing in the delivery of environmental procurement policies (73% against 43%) and sustainability reporting (79% against 63%),” says Nick Koukoulas, Managing Director of BSI incorporating NCSI.

“Given the greater energy consumption of manufacturers, it’s not entirely unexpected they have all undertaken energy audits and implemented energy efficient processes.

“However this doesn’t absent the government and services sector from addressing issues of environmental and sustainability governance, and that there is such a gap to manufacturing is quite surprising in light of the current level of political debate about the environment.”

That said, an increasing number of respondents are measuring their carbon emissions, an increase of 10% to 76% over the last survey.

Regulatory compliance for the environment and improving energy efficiency are the most important sustainability drivers for the next three years.

Mr Koukoulas says that it is encouraging that the vast majority of organisations responding to the survey have policies committing to the environment or sustainability.

“Most organisations also have top management accountability for environmental and sustainability outcomes and a dedicated environmental team or function,” says Mr Koukoulas.

“For instance, sustainability roles are well established with nearly 90% of organisations having a dedicated environmental team.

“Similarly, executive accountability for environmental and sustainability outcomes is in place with over 80% of respondents.”

“However board level responsibility for sustainability was less common and there are very few organisations that have linked financial rewards with environmental performance.”

Comparison with the 2011 Survey
There was a considerable increase in the respondents with targets for their carbon emissions, up from 40% to almost 60%. Likewise the number of organizations measuring carbon emissions increased from 65% to 75%.

The number of respondents with environmental procurement policies increased from 45% to almost 60%. There was also an increase in the number of organizations with dedicated environmental teams, from 75% to almost 90%.

Otherwise, many of the results from the 2013 survey are similar to the 2011 findings.
“The increase in the number of dedicated environmental teams corresponds with an increase in the number of organisations measuring emissions, setting targets for emissions and adopting environmental procurement policies,” says Mr Koukoulas.