Survey highlights sustainability’s corporate worth
A global survey has indicated that sustainability is becoming a more strategic and integral part of business, but that many companies still have a long way to go in mastering the reputation, execution and accountability of their sustainability programs.
Undertaken by the consulting firm McKinsey, the survey asked respondents about the actions their companies are taking to address environmental, social or governance issues, the practices they use to manage sustainability, and the value at stake.
There has been notable change compared to the results of the previous survey: 13 percent of CEOs rated sustainability as the top priority, compared to just three percent in 2010; further, a significant 36 percent saw it as among the top three priorities.
However, when it came to the often problematic execution of sustainability programs, the absence of performance incentives and short-term earnings pressure were cited as inhibiting factors. One third of CEOs cited the issue of too few people being responsible for the execution of sustainability programs.
Regarding the financial value, 39 percent of respondents said that communicating a company’s sustainability activities to customers is important to maximising the company’s financial value.
Regardless of industry, McKinsey says it has identified some of the factors that deliver a successful sustainability program:
- a unified strategy with no more than five clearly articulated priorities
- aggressive targets or goals, both external and internal
- a broad leadership coalition involved in strategy, goals and milestones, and
- the financial benefits of sustainability are clearly understood across the organisation.
More information: www.mckinsey.com