October 4, 2010

Experts Trust Ratings Organizations Less Than NGOs and Employees as Judges of Sustainability Performance

  • Globescan

Washington – Ratings and rankings organizations are trusted less than NGOs and a company’s employees when it comes to accurately judging that company’s sustainability performance.* This according to latest findings from The Sustainability Survey Research Program released Wednesday by GlobeScan and SustainAbility.

More than 1,200 experts were surveyed in July and August 2010 on topics relating to corporate accountability: transparency and sustainability reporting, rating sustainability performance, and the implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the sustainability agenda. Respondents were drawn from corporate, government, NGO, academic, research, and service organizations, and span more than 80 countries in Asia, Africa / Middle East, Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. The Sustainability Survey is the largest global poll of the views of sustainability experts.

*SustainAbility’s research into the effectiveness of ratings and rankings in driving greater corporate sustainability performance continues as part of its ongoing Rate the Raters initiative. The phase two findings of Rate the Raters will be released publicly on Monday, October 4, 2010 at SustainAbility.com.

Key findings from the survey include: 

Chris Coulter, Senior Vice President at GlobeScan, notes, “That experts continue to find value in sustainability reporting is driving their expectations and the expectations of all stakeholders higher. To be considered a leader in reporting tomorrow, companies will need to be adept at using social media and engaging mainstream investors—by taking a more integrated approach to reporting.”

Jeff Erikson, Senior Vice President at SustainAbility, adds, “The results suggest that the BP Deepwater Horizon will accelerate regulatory and voluntary improvements in the oil industry. In practice, this means energy companies and regulators will be looking closely at the issue of acceptable risk, and how they manage low probability / high impact events. I expect this concern will spill over into other energy issues, including hydraulic fracturing in deep shale deposits which is accelerating rapidly in the United States.”

Select findings

All figures in the charts are percentages.

About The Sustainability Survey Research Program
The Sustainability Survey research program is a unique, collaborative platform using research-driven expert insights to explore solutions to business’ biggest sustainability challenges. The program is designed to assist corporate leaders navigate the challenges and opportunities related to sustainability by leveraging the insights polled from the most influential thought leaders in the sustainable development arena. These quantitative results then inform forward-looking strategic counsel and ongoing trends analysis for companies participating in the membership-based research program.

About GlobeScan
GlobeScan is an international opinion research consultancy. Companies, multilateral institutions, governments, and NGOs trust GlobeScan for its unique expertise in reputation research, sustainability, and issues management. GlobeScan provides global organizations with evidence-based insight and advice to help them build strong brands, manage relations with key stakeholders, and define their strategic positioning. GlobeScan conducts research in over 90 countries, is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard for its quality management system, and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. Established in 1987, GlobeScan is an independent, management-owned company with offices in London, Toronto, and San Francisco. www.GlobeScan.com

About SustainAbility
SustainAbility is a think tank and strategy consultancy working to inspire transformative business leadership on the sustainability agenda.  Established in 1987, SustainAbility delivers illuminating foresight and actionable insight on sustainable development trends and issues.  The company operates globally and has offices in Europe, North America and India. For more information, visit www.sustainability.com