by Joel Makower and the editors of GreenBiz.com
in partnership with
Sustainable Business Trends of 2013 The Index
06 14 21
01: Natural Capital
09 16 24
02: Risk & Resilience
11 19 28
Where Impacts Happen
03: Corporate Reporting
04: The Sharing Economy
Disclosure & Transparency
06: M2M 07: Sustainable Apps 08: Materiality
Technology Convergence Shaping the Profession
09: Company Goals
10: Peak Sustainability
© 2013 GreenBiz Group Inc. (www.greenbiz.com). May be reproduced for noncommercial purposes only, provided credit is given to GreenBiz Group Inc. and includes this copyright notice.
In this, our sixth annual State of Green Business report, we’ve made some significant changes — not just in the look and feel of the document you’re reading, but in its content. First and foremost, we’ve partnered with Trucost, a leading research firm focusing on natural capital and sustainability metrics, to revamp the indicators by which we assess progress by the private sector in addressing global environmental challenges. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we scrapped the set of metrics we’d used for the previous five reports in favor of a more comprehensive and robust set that is global in scope. They cover companies’ natural capital costs, their supply-chain impacts, various measurements of transparency and disclosure, and other things. Unchanged is our Top Trends section, which looks at where the world of sustainable business is headed — the leading indicators of future progress. Our efforts mirror those of the business world we reflect: a work in progress. I hope you find insight and inspiration from this year’s report, and look forward to your feedback.
Joel Makower Chairman & Executive Editor GreenBiz Group
The global economy needs deep and liquid markets of all types of capital to run effectively. Natural capital, long overlooked in traditional financial accounting, is now recognized as a material economic input as businesses increasingly seek to manage volatile commodity prices linked to resource scarcity and extreme weather events. Important steps are now being taken to account for the natural resources that fuel economic growth, as well as the pollution that undermines it. We are pleased to partner with GreenBiz Group to bring natural capital metrics to the “State of Green Business” report. Trucost has been valuing natural capital and putting a price on resource use and pollution for more than a decade to help companies and investors address sustainability issues in board room business decisions. Trucost’s Environmental Register, the world’s most comprehensive database of natural capital metrics, provided the data insights for this year’s report, showing that companies became more environmentally efficient over the past five years. Simply put, businesses used fewer resources and polluted less to generate revenue. Notably, though, U.S. companies were found to lag their global peers, suggesting that without improved corporate efforts in North America to measure and manage the natural capital in their operations and supply chains, their global competitiveness may stall. Although companies are developing ways to deliver goods and services more efficiently, their overall reliance on natural capital grew, with environmental costs rising by 8 percent to almost $352 million between 2007 and 2011. Companies have yet to decouple growth from environmental damage. This is mainly because of our global economy’s continued reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, which meant that 42 percent of costs came from greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr. Richard Mattison CEO Trucost Plc
It’s clearly not...