Well we probably don’t have a better crystal ball than anyone else in the field, but we do have a few ideas of what might be in store for corporate sustainability in 2016. We think you’ll be seeing:
- More focus on carbon. After COP21, companies will shift more resources toward setting internal prices on carbon, creating GHG inventories (including complete value chain inventories), crafting GHG mitigation strategies and investing in carbon offsets
- Water, water, water. Water availability and quality are threatened just about everywhere – a real risk for corporate supply chains, revenue streams and workforce stability. Watch for companies to use water footprint and geographic risk tools to get a handle on where risks lie and gain focus on “embedded” water – water that’s in the materials and goods they acquire from suppliers. You’ll also see more collaboration with regional/local regulators and other key water-focused stakeholders.
- Human rights violations = continued frustration. Conflict minerals, labor strife, human trafficking – enough already! This thorny area is not getting better, despite the current compliance protocol (codes, audits and self-audits). More industry collaborations, more heat from regulators and stakeholders and more investment in transparency.
- Collaboration. Easily said, not so easily well done. Nonetheless, we’ll see more collaboration up and down verticals, more work with NGOs and other experts.
- Opportunity knocks. Although still pretty firmly seen through a risk lens, corporate sustainability will increasingly lend itself to being understand as an opportunity area as well. Some examples: game changers in biomimicry and bio-substitution to address chemicals/toxins and recyclability issues; even more energy efficiency in the built environment and manufacturing processes (including better integration of alternative energy sources); CSR getting real about improving the lives of those most vulnerable to human rights abuses.
We could by 100% wrong. However “right” we end up being, 2016’s sure to be an interesting year!