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Research Spots Trend Toward Globally Managed Sustainability Programs

October 29, 2008

A new Economist Intelligence Unit study, “Sustainability Across Borders” explores leading organizations’ preferences for addressing sustainability through global or regional approaches. Sponsored by business analytics leader SAS, the research was based on an online survey of 226 senior executives worldwide and interviews with companies including Cisco, HSBC, Lenovo, Vodafone and World Wildlife Fund.

“Global companies are taking corporate social responsibility seriously and improving performance tracking and reporting,” said Alyssa Farrell, Marketing Manager for Sustainability Solutions at SAS. “As we transition from voluntary to mandatory emissions reductions, the question becomes, ‘How do we integrate sustainability with global operations?’” Findings suggest that aligning sustainability governance with financial forces that affect revenues may be the answer.

The research identifies a trend toward globally focused sustainability programs. Sixty percent of companies currently emphasizing regional sustainability management reported plans to incorporate a global view. However, according to a Cisco case study in the report, even a global vision must first address local realities to succeed. Unique challenges for acceptance and implementation with each approach lead to different perceptions of success and competitive advantage.

Cisco, which recently set a corporate goal of reducing absolute worldwide greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2012, has signed a multi-year agreement to expand their use of SAS for Sustainability Management globally. In addition to helping meet their own carbon reduction goals, Cisco expects customers to benefit greatly through an enhanced ability to model and predict energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Cisco is working with SAS to deploy a model of 21st-century, network-based environmental accounting and analytics,” said Laura Ipsen, co-chair of Cisco’s EcoBoard and senior vice president of Cisco Global Policy and Government Affairs. “This intelligent, Internet protocol-enabled system will allow us to better monitor and manage our greenhouse gas emissions around the world. It will also enable us to demonstrate to customers how networking technology can help them meet their own environmental and operational goals, especially as organizations strive to maximize the value of their IT investment.”

The research also evaluated approaches to sustainability in developed and developing countries, where different stakeholder influences significantly affect global program development. Company approaches to sustainability in different countries depend on how best to align social and environmental goals with economic ones.

SAS helps organizations resolve a common barrier to global expansion of sustainability programs: difficulty gathering and monitoring worldwide data. SAS for Sustainability Management integrates individual technology components into a single, unified system that transcends organizational silos, diverse computing platforms and niche tools – and delivers new insights that drive value for organizations.

SAS turnkey solutions for vertical markets address financial services, life sciences, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and others. SAS targeted business solutions support enterprise intelligence, customer intelligence, financial intelligence, supply chain intelligence and more.

Today’s announcement came at The Premier Business Leadership Series event in Las Vegas, a business conference presented by SAS that brings together more than 500 attendees from the public and private sectors to share ideas on critical business issues.

About the Survey

Of the 226 executives responding to the survey, 36 percent came from Western Europe, 28 percent from North America, 22 percent from Asia Pacific and 14 percent from the rest of the world. Participants represented 19 different industries, of which the top three were financial services, professional services and manufacturing. Fifty-five percent of respondents’ organisations had annual revenue greater than US$500 million. Board members, chief executive officers and other C-level executives comprised 51 percent of respondents. Senior vice presidents and other senior executives made up the remainder of the respondent panel.

About the Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the business information arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist. Through our global network of more than 650 analysts and contributors, we continuously assess and forecast political, economic and business conditions in more than 200 countries. As the world’s leading provider of country intelligence, we help executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. With innovative business applications supported by an enterprise intelligence platform, SAS helps customers at 45,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW(R). www.sas.com

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. (R) indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright (C) 2008 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.




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