KneilandMore and more, companies are reporting corporate environmental and social performance in addition to traditional financial results. This year investors filed 68 climate- and energy-related disclosure resolutions. Roughly 12% of the $25 trillion in total U.S. assets is managed under some form of socially responsible investing. Companies are disclosing an unprecedented amount of sustainability data and are emphasizing their corporate responsibility goals and commitments.

T&R: Why promote corporate responsibility efforts?
Nieland: Most companies today make significant investments in corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts (let's refer to these as CR), such as reducing greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions and making communities better places to live and work. Investors have begun to use such efforts as a proxy for determining whether a company can effectively manage and respond to changes in the marketplace. So when companies track and report their CR efforts, they are speaking in the language that a growing number of investors want to hear.

Investors may be onto something. The more companies focus on CR, the more cost savings and revenue growth they seem to uncover. This is especially true when it comes to developing green products and expanding into new markets. Other companies have found ways to reduce risk and enhance their brand images.

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