CEO's Embrace Sustainability
Having the commitment of global corporations plays a critical role in attaining the goal of a more sustainable planet.
Though corporations sometimes have been viewed as obstructionists, the new report, "A New Era of Sustainability: UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study 2010," indicates that CEOs are, in fact, embracing sustainability and view it as critical to the success of their companies.
The study, released in June 2010, surveyed 766 CEOs around the world.
One particular statistic indicates that businesses seem to be taking sustainability more seriously. In a similar 2007 survey, 50 percent of CEO respondents said that sustainability issues had become part of their company’s strategy and operations. In the 2010 survey, that number sharply rose to 81 percent.
“CEOs told us they have, by necessity, been on the defensive during the downturn, but that they feel now is the time to get on the front foot in aligning sustainability with core business strategy and execution” said Mark Foster, Accenture’s group chief executive, Management Consulting and Global Markets.
Among the survey's other key statistics:
-93 percent of CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business.
-72 percent of CEOs cite “brand, trust and reputation” as one of the top three factors driving them to take action on sustainability issues.
-91 percent of CEOs indicate their companies will employ new technologies to address sustainability issues over the next five years.
That includes developing renewable energy and creating greater energy efficiency.
One interesting finding is the power consumers wield. Their expectations are carrying greater weight with corporations, and their demand for sustainable products and services is driving innovation.
For instance, 58 percent of respondents identify the consumer as one of the most important stakeholders influencing how companies will manage societal expectations over the next five years, compared to 50 percent in 2007.
“There is a growing sense that people expect more than just a high-quality product at a good price,” commented one business leader from a consumer goods multinational.
And an executive of a South Korean fashion and luxury goods retailer said, “Sustainability started as a moral obligation, but has now become a key differentiator for consumers.”
To read the entire report, see http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/8.1/UNGC_Accenture_CEO_Study_2010.pdf