Sara Lee Corporation (SLC) believes social responsibility is an important part of its business philosophy that has value in the global community. A significant opportunity receiving increased attention from multinational companies is added corporate value from strategic investment in environmental management programs.
Institutional investors, led by the large pension funds, have begun to evaluate corporate environmental performance beyond the standard SEC 10-K requirements. Due to the typically wide distribution of a global corporation's stock (i.e. no controlling stockholder), the emergence of institutional investors that select corporate stock based on the view that better value is found among lower risk, strong environmental performance companies, deserves corporate attention. Environmentally screened funds, while a small portion of total funds, are consistently outperforming the S&P 500.
these trends, SLC recently initiated a study to investigate environmental
programs and strong financial performance in the food and beverage industry.
The study was conducted by Environmental Resource Services, Inc. (ERS) to
aid roll out of SLC's global environmental program. Specifically, the study
evaluated the reported positive correlation between "beyond compliance"
environmental performance (e.g., auditing, waste minimization) and strong
financial performance. Our hypothesis was that companies with the following
environmental management system (EMS) components in place would have stronger