It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past twelve months and start planning for the next cycle. With that in mind, here's our pick of the sustainability trends that emerged in 2010 that we anticipate will continue to grow in prominence in 2011.
A quick snapshot:
SIRAN (Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network) reported that 93 of the S&P 100 now disclose at least some sustainability information.
With this in mind, here are six trends to watch in 2011:
1. Stakeholder Engagement Through Social Media
Further supporting the trend toward transparency, the digitally connected world will continue to be a powerful tool for engagement in 2011. Half a billion people are on Facebook, and Twitter is growing at a rate of over 1,000 percent a year. Companies that ignore this space or try to stifle the conversations that occur through these media do so at their own peril. Nestlé learned this in March 2010 when a site administrator for Nestlé’s fan page responded aggressively to a user who changed his picture to an edited Nestlé logo. This failure to engage in open and democratic conversation led to a tide of negative comments on the fan page and critical media coverage, both online and off.
Companies will learn from missteps in 2010 and be proactive about their engagement, following the lead of companies like SAP, who devote a quarter of their sustainability report site to soliciting stakeholder feedback through tools such as an interactive materiality matrix. Similarly, the Guardian, a UK newspaper, published a post on their CSR blog entitled “Can you help us with our latest sustainability report,” and incorporated suggestions in the Comments page into the final report.