U.K. companies rapidly increased the sustainability of their business practices over the last 12 months of data collection, according to a report by sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future.
Sustainable Business 2011 shows that in the latest year for which data is available – 2010 for most firms – the number of U.K. companies gaining environmental management certification rose 13.6 percent, the number publishing sustainability reports jumped 18.8 percent, and the number of workers and graduates with sustainability skills and knowledge increased by nearly 4.9 percent.
However, despite progress in many areas, the report finds that “U.K. plc” is nowhere near the path to achieving government targets for an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. On the contrary, in the latest reported year industrial carbon emissions actually increased 2.4 percent, industrial energy intensity increased 1.5 percent, and the carbon intensity of U.K. grid electricity and off-road haulage rose 1.4 percent and 2 percent respectively.
The report also finds a move away from economic and social sustainability indicators. For example, spending on research and development, pay inequality, and social performance (on human rights, labor and supply chain standards) have all fallen over the past year.