Sustainability & the IRO: Defining “corporate sustainability” and examples from around the world

A conversation at Bloomberg with Erika Karp, founder and CEO of Cornerstone Capital Group, and Greg Elders, senior ESG analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence

When asked how to separate real sustainability from green-washing, Karp says consistency between mission, incentives, accountability and outcomes is the hallmark. ‘Consistency is the biggest factor separating the signal from the noise when it comes to corporate excellence,’ she says. Karp provides Cornerstone’s definition of corporate excellence, which is its preferred term for corporate sustainability: ‘the relentless pursuit of material progress towards a more regenerative and inclusive economy.’ No company is perfect, but exemplary strivers include Nike, Intel and Goldman Sachs in the US, and BASF and Enel in Europe. Elders, who formerly worked in Europe, acknowledges that less ESG data is reported by US companies compared to Europe, where pension funds, especially in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, have pushed for it.