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The Stakeholder Perspective

The stakeholder perspective on why sustainability matters
GOVERNMENT

Governments in developing and developed countries are implementing policies in response to key sustainability issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, toxic chemicals, water use, labor, and human rights. In the United States, there is renewed interest in developing more effective oversight of and accountability for corporate activities that impact society and the environment. In particular, companies are continuing to push for strong international and U.S. domestic policies providing emissions reductions and market certainty necessary to unleash much-needed investments to develop innovative solutions for climate change.

INVESTORS

More investors are now asking companies to detail and quantify sustainability risks and opportunities in their financial disclosures. As company owners, they look to sustainability performance as an indicator of strong management, strong governance and long-term thinking about future growth potential. Long-term investors reward companies that integrate sustainability into strategic planning. Sustainability-based stock indices benchmark corporate performance against peer companies and place pressure on businesses to meet increasing expectations.

LABOR UNIONS

Unions expect companies to address issues that affect employees, whether socioeconomic issues, such as wages and healthcare, or environmental issues such as safety and climate change. They actively mobilize and represent their members through formal negotiations, engagement on public policy, and collaboration with other organizations that support common positions.

CIVIL SOCIETY

NGOs and community groups expect companies to address their environmental and social impacts. Giving voice to planetary concerns and future generations, as well as those impacted by corporate action today, these groups pressure companies through legal action, public campaigns and collaboration to address a full range of sustainability issues.

BUSINESS PARTNERS AND SUPPLIERS

Companies expect that those they do business with will follow the same standards that they do for integrating sustainability into their business. Business-to-business relationships, therefore, increasingly incorporate sustainability standards and criteria reflected through changes in Request for Proposals (RFP) and procurement guidelines. As customers, companies are themselves pushing sustainability across sectors and the value chain. Groups of companies in the automotive, apparel, electric utility, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors are among those collaborating to raise sustainability standards across their entire industry supply chains.

CONSUMERS

A growing segment of individual consumers are putting their money where their values are, demanding an understanding of the sustainability impacts of the products and services that they buy. Consumer concerns include the conditions under which products are made, the materials used and post-use recyclability. An increasing interest in credible sustainability information accompanies this trend, including at the point of purchase.

EMPLOYEES

One of the strongest forces demanding change comes from within. Current employees and talented job candidates seek work that is meaningful and of demonstrable value to society.  They seek out employers that have a clear vision for their contribution to a sustainable global economy, and once inside, look to influence the direction of corporate sustainability and drive improvements through their specific responsibilities.