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Seven in ten CEOs convinced of the value of sustainability



Almost 70% of CEOs understand the value and importance of sustainability within their organisation, according to a survey conducted for Ethical Corporation’s State of Sustainability 2015 report.

The report is the first annual survey that aims to gauge the current state of corporate responsibility and sustainability around the world. The study acknowledges that sustainability has “largely escaped from its silo and is now a vital aspect of strategic planning”, as a result more companies are now considering and implementing different strategies.

Almost 1,500 individuals, of which 65% identified themselves as owners or board members, answered in depth questions on sustainability, from what it meant to their organisation to how sustainability will evolve over the next five years.

Dave Stangis, vice president of public affairs and corporate responsibility at Campbell Soup Company, said that the report “provides a great snapshot of where the profession is today and a yardstick to assess your own company’s progress on the journey”.

Some 89% of corporate respondents said that sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of their business strategy. The figure exceeds that of respondents said their CEO takes sustainability seriously, suggesting that other factors, such as consumer demand, supply chain issues or regulatory requirements, is putting sustainability on the agenda.

In terms of money, the report notes, “A good proxy for how seriously organisations take sustainability is, of course, how much money they are prepared to spend on it. unsurprisingly we found that a relatively small proportion of organisations with sustainability budgets in excess of $1 million – 8% of our respondents overall fell into this category, though for corporate respondents, this portion increased to 15%, with 9% having sustainability budgets in excess of $2.5 million.”

However, the report adds that low budgets are not necessarily a barrier to effective action to identify sustainability priorities and measure performance. Furthermore, a this of participants indicated that their budget was likely to increase over the course of 2015.

Over two thirds of respondents also said they were able to linked increased revenue or business to sustainability activities, suggesting that organisations could see increased benefits as they increase their budget.

Photo: andi braun via Freeimages

Further reading:

Poll: government planning system not equipped for sustainable economy transition

Sustainable policies could support EU economic growth, says report

The role of agriculture in promoting a sustainable economy

Unep: corporates and investors should join forces for sustainable business

Sustainable business is simply ‘doing business in a better way’