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Survey: businesses look to embed sustainability in 2015



Over the next year almost half of businesses and organisations have made it a top priority to embed sustainability throughout operations, according to a survey. Additionally 25% of respondents labelled sustainability as a key driver.

The survey, conducted by Ethical Corporation, primarily compromised of global brands but also included NGOs, academics and governments. Respondents were based across the globe but Europe and North America made up a significant majority, accounting for 28% and 25% respectively.

When participants were asked the extent to which sustainability is currently embedded throughout their organisation, 25% said the organisation was driven by it and 18% said sustainability was embedded throughout. The largest portion, 30%, stated that sustainability permeates most of their departments, however, disappointingly, 20% said sustainability is “very much separate”.

The findings highlight the vast gap between businesses that are embracing sustainability and those that are lagging behind. However, this gap could close as over 45% of respondents said embedding sustainability throughout the organisation was a top priority for the year ahead. Creating a sustainable culture and sustainable innovation were also named as priorities for 2015.

A smaller number of businesses also named minimising water use, waste management, carbon reduction, evaluating non-financial impacts and eliminating risk from the supply chain as priorities, demonstrating that some businesses are thinking about a wide range of sustainability factors and how they can benefit or expose the organisation.

Looking further ahead, 30% of participants’ names sustainable innovation at the most exciting opportunity in the next five years. The portion was even higher in the UK, with 37% agreeing with the statement.

Photo: Tim Sackton via Flickr 

Further reading:

From ethics to sustainability: shifting the investment debate for 2014

Report: renewables to grow faster than fossil fuels in 2015

Low-carbon technologies and social impact both investment trends to watch

Ethical Corporation: helping business do the right thing

Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Awards: celebrating sustainable success