The business community, from individual companies to entire industries and sectors, is undergoing one of the most fundamental transformations it has ever experienced. At the heart of this evolution is the critical idea that commerce, trade and exchange of all kinds must consider more than just profit maximization as a final goal. Additionally, business must take into account its impact on a variety of social and environmental factors, such as equality and sustainability.
Some 90% of major U.S. companies now issue corporate sustainability reports outlining their environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices, compared with just 20% a decade ago.footnote1 Yet even as companies work to lower their carbon footprints, invest in communities, and support diverse workforces and racial equality, as well as efforts to help protect the environment, what has been lacking is a common set of metrics and processes for measuring or demonstrating results. Amid an array of potential metrics, 25 well-meaning manufacturers might report environmental and social progress 25 different ways.