Sustainability is the very definition of a “big tent” category – one overarching umbrella that encompasses so much more. Every enterprise appears to have their own unique set of initiatives, driven by industry, company culture, and unique external variables. Whether it’s an energy company that’s addressing the environmental impact of fracking or a tech company assessing its diversity programs, great variability exists when it comes to sustainability.

Yet that doesn’t mean these initiatives have nothing in common. We took a look at Business Roundtable’s annual report, which contains top executives’ perspectives on company sustainability efforts. Every company outlines highlights the sustainability initiatives they have focused on and their goals for the future. We placed each initiative into a common category and then counted the number of similar initiatives for each industry and found some overarching themes. This way, executives can measure the success of their sustainability programs against the competition to see how much value they add to their brand’s reputation.

Here’s what we uncovered:


  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Reduce water usage
  • Reduce packaging


  • Clean emissions
  • Initiatives that benefit local communities
  • Safer workplace environment
  • Environmental protection


  • Carbon neutral office spaces
  • Funding sustainable businesses
  • Financing green bonds


  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • Reduced energy usage
  • Safe and sustainable disposal of medical waste


  • Reduce waste from landfill
  • Preserve habitats and biodiversity
  • Safety training programs


  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Safe work environment
  • Education programs
  • Employee volunteer programs

Real Estate

  • Energy efficiency
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Human rights


  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Educational programs
  • Green energy programs


  • Reduce CO2 emissions
  • Educational programs
  • Workplace sustainability inititatives


  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • Fuel efficient delivery methods
  • Recycle waste

Despite the apparent randomness of sustainability initiatives, there is some order to the chaos. Each industry has common themes that align with overall business trends – yet still reflect more company-specific focus areas.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can measure its sustainability initiatives and strengthen your brand’s reputation, download our white paper: Smart Ways to Measure Sustainability and Appeal to Consumers Who Care