CSE’s new Research links Financial and Corporate Sustainability (ESG) Performance

November 6, 2018


Research Links Financial and Corporate Sustainability (ESG) Performance

 CSE’s third annual report finds AI and Blockchain growing nearly as quickly as UN SDGs in Sustainability Reporting


The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) announces its third annual report on Sustainability (ESG) Reporting Trends: North America 2018.  This research provides a useful and convenient representation of the current state of Sustainability Reporting.  It focuses on companies and organizations based in the U.S. and Canada.  For the first time, the research examines how artificial intelligence (AI) and Blockchain are applied to Corporate Sustainability.


Finance and Sustainability Inform RoSTM Framework

Based on 642 North American sustainability reports for the 2017 reporting period, CSE created a unique analysis framework. It identifies correlations between Sustainability (ESG) performance and Financial results. The 50 companies with the highest ESG scores (CSRHub Ranking as of July 2018) indicate a strong correlation between financial performance and sustainability performance. Similar findings were identified in last year’s CSE research.  Evidence suggests a strong correlation between comprehensive sustainability strategies, Sustainability Reporting and a culture of transparency that have a positive impact on revenues.

CSE  created the new Return on SustainabilityTM (RoS) framework to support businesses.  It helps assess the impact of their Sustainability Strategies and Reporting on their bottom line.  Any company can complete the CSE Sustainability and Financial Performance Questionnaire as a first step. Responses identify if they have the enablers and tools needed to integrate sustainability into their research strategy and maximize RoS.


Effect of AI and Blockchain

New data focuses on AI and Blockchain.  Increased application of AI indicates that it will play an intrinsic role enabling and scaling sustainability solutions. CSE predicts that Sustainability and CSR practices and reporting will be radically transformed.  Likewise, Blockchain is set to change the way business transactions take place. The visibility provided by Blockchain will increase efficient transactions, promoting food safety, efficient recalls, the elimination of counterfeits, and the assurance of ethical trading partners.


Top Trends in Sustainability (ESG) and Non-Financial  Reporting  

The report elaborates on trends identified over the past three years.  Sectors with the highest reporting presence in the research sample include: Financial Services, Energy and Energy Utilities, Food & Beverage, Healthcare Products and Mining. Of companies topping their sector based on revenue, the majority have both Sustainability Reporting and comprehensive sustainability strategies.  Once again, the GRI leads as the reporting standard of choice.  And, the adoption of the United Nations Sustainability Goals (SDGs) in 2017 doubled with respect to previous research (13.9% from 6.2%). 


About the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence

 CSE specializes in global sustainability consulting, coaching and training. Clients include organizations such as NASA and World Bank, and Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Lloyds Banking, Coca Cola, Oracle and Shell. Services and web tools track evolving standards such as the UN Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), CDP Worldwide, Green House Gas Protocol, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and others. CSE’s specialized se.rvices include Materiality Assessment, Sustainability Strategy, External Verification and Assurance, SROI and Stakeholder Engagement, Carbon Reduction and Life Cycle Analysis, Green Buildings and Events.  CSE is accredited by CMI and is a GRI organizational stakeholder. CSE  has trained over 5,000 Sustainability Professionals from the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East through on-site, online and group training. You can see here the upcoming Training programs globally.

CSE’s Sustainability Academy offers affordable, online education in corporate responsibility and was recently awarded by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as Gold Standard in Sustainability.

 For more information on CSE research, contact us at: communications@cse-net.org


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