Report Questions Corporations’ Commitment to Sustainability

Report Questions Corporations’ Commitment to Sustainability

Companies that fail to offer real long-term solutions to problems of sustainability are hurting their reputations on the world stage, according to a new report by Infonic, an Internet research and communications consultancy. The report, the third in a series of five analyzing the implications of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), observes that membership in corporate groups such as Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) is not a panacea for the corporate reputation risks of its members. The report also concludes that:
  • BASD will have to defend itself from corporate accountability groups targeting the organization and its members.
  • Individual companies, such as Rio Tinto and Shell, are being attacked for their membership of the organization.
  • Companies committed to forging partnerships to promote sustainable energy in developing countries will be seen to have a competitive edge.
  • The pharmaceutical sector needs to demonstrate that its concern for health in the developing world overrides its desire for profits.
Next month's WSSD will provide a stage for NGOs to criticize companies' lack of commitment to the summit's sustainable development objectives.

"The Johannesburg Summit's own commitment to openness and accountability has boosted the influence of pressure groups and NGOs", says Infonic managing director Roy Lipski. "The impact of these groups' statements should not be underestimated."

Since October 2001, Infonic has been tracking the build-up to the WSSD, which runs from August 26 through September 4. The series of monthly executive reports entitled "Johannesburg Briefings" focuses on the reputational implications of the event, the follow-up to the hugely influential Rio summit in 1992. The briefings series started in May, it will finish with a post-summit evaluation in September.