The Evolution of Sustainability Metrics
by Carol Singer Neuvelt
October 27, 2011—The world of sustainability performance analytics is exploding at a breakneck speed. What once was a niche field for socially responsible investment has transformed into a vast marketplace of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indices, ratings firms and mass-market editorials like Newsweek’s Green 100 ranking. Today the trend is also beginning to expand into auxiliary areas such as product labeling, human rights and community impact.
When this movement took hold a decade ago, many corporate environmental leaders were excited that the external world was finally paying attention to the value their efforts contributed to the bottom line. Indeed, the establishment of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the growth of financial firms such as KLD and even the creation of the Carbon Disclosure Project were viewed as affirmations of their professional focus.