CHICAGO: Over half of US companies will increase their focus on issues linked to sustainability this year, according to a survey by the American Marketing Association and Fleishman-Hillard.

A poll among 270 marketers and communications specialists found that 58% of respondents expected their firms to heighten their emphasis on sustainability in the next few months despite the financial crisis.

Over 50% also argued that issues relating to sustainability were integral to perceptions of their company, but only 43% thought marketing support for such initiatives would increase.

Some 82% of participants predicted their fellow employees will be the target for communications related to sustainability, compared with 74% targeting consumers, and 52% looking to investors and analysts.

A further 53% said their companies would aim to ensure sustainable relationships between their financial resources, staff and environmental impact.

The Ethisphere Institute has also recently released its annual list of the 99 most ethical companies from around the world.

It featured US food and beverage giants like PepsiCo, General Mills and Kellogg, as well as the food retailers Safeway and Trader Joe's.

Other American corporations featured on the list included media giants Google and Time Warner, apparel chains Gap and Target, sportswear brand Nike and McDonald's and Starbucks in the restaurants and cafés category.

Data sourced from AdWeek/Ethisphere Institute; additional content by WARC staff