Most S&P 500 companies now publish sustainability reports

The number of S&P 500 companies publishing a sustainability or corporate responsibility report has increased four-fold in just five years, according to new research by the Governance  & Accountability Institute. Back in 2011, just 20% of the companies on G&A’s S&P Index company reporting created sustainability reports. This year that number has jumped to 81%. As the G&A Institute’s executive VP Louis D. Coppola notes, “We continue to see very clear demonstrations of the U.S. corporate community's embracement of sustainability reporting.”  

What makes companies do good?

Most corporate social responsibility programs are embraced either because companies understand they are good management practice, or because companies are looking to make amends for bad behavior. That’s the conclusion of a new academic study published in the Journal of Marketing that looked at 4,500 companies over a 19-year time span, The Atlantic notes. It writes: “Their research suggests that consumers are more discerning than they might seem, rewarding the companies whose investment in social good is more than a public-relations crusade.”

Unilever Foundry crowdfunds sustainable solutions through Indiegogo

Unilever Foundry, the marketing start-up competition launched last year by the FMCG, is back for a second year and one of its five main goals in 2016 is to identify emerging sustainable business models. As the company explains in Campaign, “In the same way that Unilever Foundry has helped marketing technology entrepreneurs go from startup to scaleup, we’re now looking to apply those capabilities to social entrepreneurs to scale their impact and ideas.” To give added impetus to the the campaign Unilever Foundry is partnering with Indiegogo to help crowdfund the best sustainable business ideas. As Unilever explains, social entrepreneurs can pitch ideas to the Foundry community and Unilever experts. Then, “the best ideas will be given the opportunity to launch a campaign through Indiegogo to fund the idea and bring it to life, plus mentorship and additional support from Unilever to help them scale.”

How apps can disrupt fitness industry

One area that Unilever might want to pay attention to is the health and fitness industry where traditional gym industry membership models are being disrupted by cloud based app platforms, the BBC reports. Services like ClassPass are “cropping up around the world as start-ups see opportunities to challenge the perceived inflexibility of established fitness club memberships - most of which involve compulsory annual contracts,” the BBC writes.

Gatorade takes a glug of digital fitness

Finally today, news that one major company, PepsiCo, already is muscling into the world of personal fitness and wearable tech data profiling. The Wall Street Journal reports how the Gatorade brand “is developing a microchip-fitted ‘smart cap’ bottle and sweat patch that communicate digitally and provide athletes and fitness buffs constant updates on how much they should drink.” Gulp!