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Emerging green intelligence: business analytics and corporate sustainability

Amid the current climate of greater demand for both environmental awareness and corporate accountability, organizations are finding that success increasingly is being measured not only by financial performance but also by ecological and social accomplishments.

The “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profit is providing companies with the incentive to innovate in order to satisfy society and shareholders alike, and to realize the potential of previously untapped methods and markets.

Balancing economic interests against social and environmental concerns is referred to as “sustainability” – a growing approach to business that has led stakeholders to put increased pressure on organizations to re-balance their goals. Shareholders expect profits, but increasingly, they also want the firm to make a positive contribution to society while negating environmental impact. One executive summed it up as: “Keeping my organization successful for the long term in an environmentally responsible manner.”

But doing so requires integrating and analyzing data to achieve goals and challenging the organizational culture to make the necessary changes. Information is vital to helping people across the organization understand key corporate sustainability issues and their social, environmental and economic effects.

From responding to public policies to engaging with the public and the international community, organizations need to have fact-based information to develop sustainability programs that deliver bottom-line benefits to shareholders.

This white paper, based on research conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services, looks at how the most forward-thinking enterprises are using analytics to their advantage by applying it to complex sustainability initiatives.