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90% of CEOs believe businesses should have a social purpose



A survey led by Coca-Cola Enterprises has found that nine out of ten CEOs believe companies should fully integrate sustainability into their business, with future leaders showing more willingness to employ corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

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The study surveyed 150 CEOs, as well as 150 MBA, MSc students and recent graduates across Europe. The results were presented in London at the Future for Sustainability Summit: Enhancing the Value of Business.

The survey found that 90% of present and future leaders believe that a successful business should combine profit and social purpose, arguing that this offers relevance to the next generation of customers and employees and ensures business survival.

CEO of Coca-Cola John F. Brock said, “Forward-looking organisations are already focusing on how to balance profit and purpose, and there is clearly a growing expectation on businesses to do this.

“Today’s leaders play an essential role in integrating environmental and social issues into strategic decision making, but future generations have even higher expectations of business. It’s clear that social and environmental purpose will increase in importance in the years to come, and that collaborative innovation is the key to unlocking success.”

However, the study found that while the majority of current CEOs think their companies already have social and environmental leadership in place, only 19% of the younger generation thinks so. In addition, 80% of future leaders think that societal and environmental impact would be crucial to a business’ success.

Prof David Grayson, director of the Doughty Centre, which led the survey, said, “While it’s not surprising to learn that social purpose is seen as a priority for business, the big challenge is to ensure more business leaders define the real purpose of their business, and identify how they are going to achieve that purpose.”

Photo: Alon via flickr

Further reading:

Ethical Corporation: helping business do the right thing

More businesses going green to save money – survey

Report calls for businesses to move from ‘doing less harm’ to having positive impact

Sustainability top priority for quarter of British small businesses

Survey: CEOs see opportunities within sustainability, but not immediate benefits


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