Companies Still Fail to Take the Environment Seriously

Last Updated Jun 13, 2008 2:19 PM EDT

  • The Find: Despite the fact that environmental risk management is climbing up the list of priorities at many companies, most firms do not formally consider environmental risk when laying out strategy.
  • The Source: A new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey co-sponsored by the ACE Group of Companies.
The Takeaway: The EIU spoke with 320 risk managers across the globe about incorporating environmental risks like climate change and the possibility of environmental regulation in their strategic thinking.

Collectively, risk managers said that with stakeholders increasingly aware of environmental issues and concern about global warming steadily increasing they were more and more aware of the threats their businesses faced from environmental problems. They even recognize that challenges like climate change present opportunities as well as dangers. But these understandings were not enough to get them to take these risks seriously -- most handle environmental risks in an ad hoc fashion and confusion reigns as to who should be responsible for managing them.

Though some companies have formal processes for assessing and mitigating environmental risks, it remains rare for firms to formally include environmental risk when think about major strategic moves such as mergers and acquisitions. And that's a mistake according to Karl Russek, Senior Vice President for ACE Environmental Risk:

"Based on our experience with organizations of all sizes, as the degree of environmental regulation and scrutiny increases across the globe, companies and risk managers would be well served to remain proactive on this issue."
The full report investigates the issue in depth and is available for free download.

The Question: Are companies paying enough attention to environmental risks?

  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.