2019 CSE Research finds Silicon Valley Geniuses are Sustainability Dullards

September 25, 2019
By CSE

(Chicago, IL)  ~The Center for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) announces its 2019 research into the state of Sustainability Strategy and Reporting in North America.  Sustainability Reporting Trends in Silicon Valley 2019 is a follow-up to CSE’s 2016 research.  Except for certain large multi-nationals, the report finds limited sustainability leadership from the world’s largest concentration of tech companies.

 

CSE’s 2019 research analyzes the current state of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting by Silicon Valley based companies. Of the companies reviewed, 60% have a sustainability report, up from 29% in 2016.  CSE’s 2016 report found Silicon Valley did not include sustainability as key to corporate strategy despite dominance by purpose-driven Millennials and belief in technology’s ability to address global challenges,

 

This year’s research found that 37% of companies reported climate change performance.  23% included reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from a simple statement of support to a full integration.  22% have been externally assured, significantly increasing reporting accuracy and credibility, key for investors and ESG  ratings.

 

Only 23% of all companies in the study displayed a sustainability strategy that involves all the main focus areas deemed critical to their impact: Community, Environment, Ethics, Employees, Supply Chain and Philanthropy.  Among all companies, Environment and Ethics were the most reported focus areas .

 

Of the companies analyzed, 98% have an ESG (environment, social, governance) ratings profile.  With the rise of ratings agencies, the use of sustainability due diligence has increased significantly, and companies are taking notice. Despite improvement, Silicon Valley lags significantly behind the national average of women in the workforce and in setting up comprehensive Sustainability Strategies for reducing carbon and addressing social challenges.

 

Blockchain applications promise to reduce environmental impact and better assure human rights and fair work practices.  AI (artificial intelligence) applications in sustainability pose risks associated with bias, poor decision making, low transparency, job losses and malevolent use.

 

Overall, CSE’s research indicates Silicon Valley has made some improvement in sustainability strategy and impacts over three reporting cycles.  Much work remains to raise the region to national averages compared to CSE’s general 2018 findings on Sustainability in North America.

 

CSE’s findings will be presented during its Certified Sustainability Practitioner Programs throughout North America.  Visit www.cse-net.org to download the report.  For more information contact [email protected]

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