Companies in the public eye are often more actively involved in sustainability. Whether they start because of strategic reasons or stakeholder pressure, those same companies are also more likely to be attacked by the media for not doing enough. I recently met with a very large company’s sustainability team who said that they don’t want to publicly mention their involvment in sustainability until after they get their house in order for fear of being attacked.

Then there is other side of the coin. There are 1000s of companies, big companies around the world, that we know nothing about. Just because we don’t hear about them doesn’t mean they are all good either. Some of these could be the most unsustainable companies of them all, but we’ll probably never know.

The thing with the companies that we love to hate is that at least we see them, hear them, and because of this we as stakeholders do have a certain amount of power over them. Those we don’t see…well..what you can’t see won’t hurt you right? If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, does it make a noise? and dumping waste? mistreating employees?

Big companies in the public eye aren’t perfect but at least we know who they are.