When sustainable business actually means, ya know, sustainable business

2009 May 7
by Kate O'Neill

It’s old news at this point, but still interesting. In February, management consulting firm A. T. Kearney published results of a study that found that green businesses were performing better at that point in the recession:

The analysis found that in 16 of the 18 industries studied, companies committed to sustainability outperformed industry averages by 15% over the six months from May through November 2008.

The study is called Green Winners: The Performance of Sustainability-focused Companies in the Financial Crisis.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study results isn’t the fact that the companies were green: it’s that they were sustainable in a larger sense of the word. According to the study, there were characteristics shared by the leading companies which included, among others (boldface emphasis mine):

  • A focus on long-term strategy, not just short-term gains
  • Strong corporate governance
  • A history of investment in green innovations

Sounds like the types of companies we can get excited about around here.

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