Creating a Sustainable Organization: Approaches for Enhancing Corporate Value Through Sustainability (paperback)

Peter A. Soyka  
Total pages
January 2012
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Creating a Sustainable Organization: Approaches for Enhancing Corporate Value Through Sustainability (paperback)
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Organizations that prioritize environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues are well placed to attract better customers, better talent, and today's growing number of socially responsible investors. But, to gain these benefits, companies must choose the right sustainability strategies, and then manage and measure them well. Now, leading business sustainability consultant Peter Soyka offers a complete and actionable guide to driving greater value through sustainability. Soyka bridges the disparate worlds of the EHS/sustainability professional and the investor/analyst, covering all this and more: 

  • What the evidence says about linkages between sustainability and value
  • Key stakeholder relationships influencing corporate behavior related to EHS and social equity
  • Best practices for managing sustainability throughout the business
  • How sustainability posture and performance can be evaluated by investors, markets, and managers
  • How to maximize the influence of organizational actors focused on sustainability

This book will be invaluable for all environmental, health, and safety decision-makers and professionals concerned with improving sustainability and value; for executives and strategists seeking competitive advantage; for analysts evaluating investments; and for researchers and MBA candidates currently studying the techniques and potential of corporate sustainability.


INSTRUCTOR SUPPLEMENTS:  Instructor's Manual available for download at


The complete guide to improving business performance through sustainable practices: current knowledge, practical skills, real-world insight.


  • How sustainability impacts today’s enterprise: stakeholders, investor issues, performance management/measurement, and more
  • Strengthening links between sustainability and shareholder value -- including updated coverage of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI
  • For every environmental, health, and safety professional and decision-maker who wants to drive more value from sustainability

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Major Themes and Messages in This Book   4

A Few Disclosures and Caveats   9

Endnotes   12

Chapter 2 Background and Context  15

What Is Sustainability, and Why Is It Important to Business?   16

Why Sustainability Is and Will Remain Important to U.S. Corporations   22

Where We’ve Been and What We’ve Learned   29

What ESG/Sustainability Investing Is and Why You May Never Have Heard of It   42

Major Factors, Actors, and Trends   44

ES&G Concerns as Key Requirements and Determinants of Long-Term Business Success   47

Implications for Sustainability Professionals and Others Working on Corporate Sustainability Issues   52

Endnotes   54

Chapter 3 ES&G Issues and How They Affect the Business Enterprise 57

Environmental, Health and Safety, and Social Equity Laws and Regulations   57

An Abridged History   58

Corporate ES&G Obligations   70

Legal Liability   80

Stakeholder Expectations and Nonlegal Requirements   82

Costs and Cost Structure   89

Revenue Impacts   93

Organizational Strength and Capability   96

Endnotes   106

Chapter 4 Stakeholder Interests and Influences and the Social License to Operate 109

The Social License to Operate   111

Major Company Stakeholders   115

Typical Stakeholder Involvement in and Influence on Corporate Behavior   129

Endnotes   147

Chapter 5 Managing ES&G Issues Within the Organization 149

Relationships Among and Between EHS, Social, and Governance Issues   150

Effective ES&G Management Structures and Practices   154

Integrating Sustainability into the Company’s “Organizational DNA”   178

Endnotes   185

Chapter 6 Investors and the Power of Markets 187

Market Theory and Underlying Assumptions   188

Who Investors Are and What They Care About   194

Size and Composition of U.S. Capital Markets   197

Disclosure   201

Institutional Investors and Fiduciary Duty   209

Traditional and Emerging Security Evaluation Methods   214

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and ES&G Investing   227

ES&G Evaluation and Investing Methods   232

Barriers to ES&G Investing   239

International Situation and Trends   247

Analysts, Rating Agencies, Data Providers, and Other Intermediaries   251

Trends and Potential Game-Changers   254

Summary and Implications   261

Endnotes   263

Chapter 7 The Financial Impact of Effective (or Ineffective) ES&G/Sustainability Management  267

Insights from the Literature   268

Surveys of Corporate and Investor Attitudes and Beliefs   289

Summary and Implications   299

Endnotes   305

Chapter 8 Defining, Measuring, and Reporting ES&G Performance 307

Why Performance Measurement and Reporting Are Crucial   308

ES&G Data, Information, Knowledge, and Insight   308

Major ES&G Data Types and Sources   310

Creating Knowledge and Insight from Corporate and Industry ES&G Information   314

Key Needs and Gaps   321

Sustainability Reporting: Extent of Use   323

Evaluation of Current ES&G Reporting Practices, Limitations, and Trends   327

ES&G Research and Analysis Firms   339

Potential Improvements   351

Endnotes   356

Chapter 9 Making It Happen in Your Organization 359

Creating Sustainable Value for the Enterprise   360

Implications for Sustainability Professionals   369

What It Takes   372

Closing Thoughts   380

Endnotes   380

References 381

Index 393

Back Cover

“With investors increasingly concerned about whether they have appropriately priced ESG-related fat tail risks in their portfolios, Peter’s book provides a timely explanation as to why financial markets care about how companies manage their material sustainability issues, set performance targets for them, and then embed ESG principles into their core business.”

Abyd Karmali, Managing Director and Global Head of Carbon Markets, Bank of America Merrill Lynch


“Soyka brings a fresh and grounded view of corporate sustainability that understands the critical need to bridge the environmental and financial worlds. He makes it clear that sustainability is multidisciplinary and that leadership companies align it with core business drivers and metrics. Creating a Sustainable Organization  is a valuable work that should be required for any professional seeking to align sustainability with business success.”

Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group; author, Strategies for the Green Economy


“In Creating a Sustainable Organization, Peter Soyka has woven together a wealth of personal experience, industry commentary, data, and academic analysis to present a compelling argument in favor of promoting corporate sustainability. But he doesn’t stop there–his primary accomplishment is in establishing a guide for present and future sustainability practitioners to pursue sustainability as an engine for value creation within their firms. Peter has given us insightful–and in some cases, uncomfortable–analysis. Those of us in the business of evaluating companies from the outside have as much to learn from Peter as those on the inside.”

Mark E. Bateman, President, Segue Point LLC; Director of Research, IW Financial

Sustainability and socially responsible investing (SRI) are each attracting growing attention from financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private investors, citizens, and policymakers. In Creating a Sustainable Organization, Peter A. Soyka links these trends, showing how to use organizational sustainability to drive greater value for shareholders and other corporate stakeholders.


Soyka employs the powerful construct of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ES&G) posture and performance, showing how it integrates environmental, health, safety, and social issues with governance. You’ll learn how ES&G compares with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the “triple bottom line,” and how and when to use it to improve (or evaluate) a company’s performance and investment potential.


Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) and sustainability professionals will gain a deeper understanding of how the financial community operates, what its members value, what motivates its behavior, and the basis of its growing interest in corporate sustainability. At the same time, investors and investment analysts will develop broader and deeper insight into how sustainability issues affect companies’ performance and prospects, and which sustainability practices create the foundation for long-term value creation.


Covers all this and more:

• How sustainability affects enterprise value: the latest data

• Barriers to corporate sustainability—and how they can be overcome

• The surprising ways key financial players are now promoting sustainability

• Responding to the growing diversity and sophistication of EHS stakeholders

• Managing sustainability more successfully throughout the organization

• Defining, measuring, and reporting on sustainability more effectively

• Tracking sustainability performance from the investor’s viewpoint

• Bridging the viewpoints of EHS and the financial/investment community

• Becoming a more effective and influential EHS/sustainability professional



Peter A. Soyka, President of Soyka & Company, LLC, is a highly experienced and respected sustainability and environmental management consultant. A recognized expert working at the intersection of EHS and finance, he specializes in helping companies identify and overcome the obstacles to sustainable business success.


Soyka brings a substantial track record of innovative thinking and success in devising creative solutions to the most challenging
environmental/business management problems, and in translating new ideas into approaches, tools, and techniques that produce real results. Much of his recent work has involved identifying and capturing the financial and other organizational benefits of proactive environmental management and sustainability practices.