Divergence On The Corporate Front: Sustainability Shakeout Begins

Ten Large Retail Corporations Profiled Using EthicalQuote

With regulatory teeth set to emerge in environmental and ethical regulatory regimes again (see explanatory post - The Pendulum Effect: Review And Prospects For Sustainability...), corporate sustainability efforts could soon receive notice among investors and in consumer markets. For examples of how indicators of ethical and environmental choices have been tracking lately, see the above graphic, drawn for this post using Covalence'sEthical Quote, Public Version, and explanation, plus further examples below the fold.Multinational corporations that took proactive steps to make themselves more sustainable may soon be seeing value returns from those efforts.

Examples of proactive corporate steps: shedding or closing carbon intensive businesses or designs; giving preference to more resource efficient suppliers; developing products and services that help customers conserve resources; making manufacturing processes more resource efficient; and avoiding the use of highly toxic, bio-accumulative materials of construction.

Covalence SA offers plots that illustrate how corporations diverge from each other over time, via their Ethical Quotation System, which is a "... a weekly, updated information system measuring the ethical reputation of multinational companies." Here's an interesting description of some EthicalQuote results offered for early December of 2008, covering the retail sector (as shown above):

Laggards of the past often turn into leaders of the present. The case of Wal-Mart perfectly illustrates this paradoxical tendency, states a report published today by Geneva-based ethical reputation research firm Covalence – Covalence Retail Industry Report 2008.
Via:Covalence Image credit: Covalence, select retailers

There are many more examples available from the Covalence Ethical Quotes system. Below are a few more snips from the public version.

Caveat: Those trends depicted in the sample graphics shown in this post feature brand names selected because there are assumed to be widely familiar. No recommendation, endorsement, or assessment of investment potential is intended for any firm or firms shown. The point is simply to illustrate the changes which may intensify, or be perceived to do so, as free market fundamentalism falls from favor, and especially if carbon tax and/or cap and trade mechanisms are implemented, internationally.

Methodology Note: Because I do not have access to the proprietary Covalence index service, I used the free, though somewhat dated information, offered in the public version, which is described, as follows, by Covalence.

This is the public version of Covalence's EthicalQuote, a weekly updated information system measuring the ethical reputation of multinational companies. The universe includes 200 companies within 10 major sectors. An updated version of Java is needed for viewing EthicalQuote

The free public version of EthicalQuote does not show data from the last 12 months. For complete access to Covalence's weekly updated ethical quotation system, including data from the previous year, please subscribe to Live EthicalQuote.

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Background Posts
Financial And Environmental De-Regulation: Two Crashes In The ...
2008: A Year Of Change For The Environment And Us
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