2015 was the year sustainability measures and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities went more mainstream in North American companies, going deeper where they already exist and taking hold in new places, experts say.
Executives also began looking beyond their company walls and getting more active in global climate campaigns, all seen as high points for the year. Experts, though, were discouraged by several major missteps by large corporations and that the pace of efforts to address climate change does not match the amount of work still needed.
“The high point is that more and more corporate leaders are getting involved, and are willing to engage publicly on important issues,” says to David Brodwin, vice-president for media and communications and chief finance officer of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which promotes policy change at federal and state level that supports a more sustainable economy. “The low point is that some still maintain a ‘code of silence’ on important issues,” he adds. “For example, every company suffers from the inefficiency of the US healthcare system because they pay about 50% more in healthcare costs than they should. But few are willing to publicly challenge the policies and conditions that make healthcare so ruinously expensive in the US.”
Business leaders are also realising that internal, voluntary action, while important, has its limits, adds Brodwin. “For companies to fulfil...