On April 22, countries across the world will celebrate the 52nd annual Earth Day. To highlight the important role of sustainability to industrial firms, I’m providing a preview of key findings from an upcoming state of industrial sustainability report. Industrial firms in key sectors (e.g., primary production, product manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, chemicals, oil, gas) implement sustainability initiatives to achieve benefits, including enhancing industrial operations and competitive differentiation; aligning with sustainability priorities of regulatory, investor, and employee stakeholders; and addressing consumer interest in the climate change impacts of purchased products.

Industrial firms often focus on implementing three categories of sustainability initiatives: 1) product lifecycle initiatives to design products using environmentally friendly materials; 2) environmental resource monitoring to manage carbon or use of critical resources (e.g., water, energy, e-waste, lighting) and; 3) operational process initiatives addressing building management, supply chain operations, or relevant operational processes. Sustainability actions do vary by industrial segment. For example, industrial product manufacturers often focus on screening potential partners for conflicting sustainability and social responsibility practices, while high-tech product manufacturers focus on increasing transparency of their sustainability activities.

Some proactive firms incorporate sustainability practices into partnerships, including the aforementioned screening of potential partners for conflicting sustainability and social responsibility practices, distancing themselves from partners that do not meet their corporate sustainability practices, and/or auditing partners to ensure they meet their sustainability and social responsibility practices. For additional insight into these industrial sustainability trends and themes, watch for the upcoming report on this topic, or set up some time for a discussion with me.

This blog post is part of Forrester’s Earth Day 2022 series. For more Forrester insights on sustainability, see the full set of Forrester’s climate action blogs.