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Investors push companies to take sustainability “seriously”

wbcsd lgGENEVA: According to a new study by the Geneva-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), members of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), representing US$35 trillion in assets, are taking sustainability seriously as a business and investment issue.

The WBCSD says the PRI doesn't see sustainability "as a magic bullet to transform investment performance" but acknowledges that over the medium to long-term companies face significant risks and opportunities from resource constraints, demographic changes, poverty and climate change.

The 1,000 members of the PRI believe that the companies factoring these issues into business strategies will ultimately outperform. As a result they want to see evidence in corporate reporting that managements understand this and are responding appropriately.

The WBCSD says it wants companies to introduce effective reporting and disclosure so that investors can support business strategies that create sustainable outcomes.

"The pressing environmental and social issues the world is now seeing means that businesses need to act now to transform sustainability reporting so that it meets these needs. Engage with peers and the leading thinkers who are pushing this concept forward. Integrate sustainability into business thinking. And tell the world what you have done in ways that engage, inform, and stimulate action," says the WBCSD study.

Earlier this month, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, was appointed the new WBCSD chairman. Polman joins fellow Dutchman WBCSD CEO Peter Bakker, former head of TNT.

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