CEO’s recognising BENEFITS of sustainability

CEOs See Sustainability Issues as Critical for Future Business Successrecycle istock_000008722438xsmall

CEO’s seem to spend a lot of time participating in surveys. This may not come as a surprise to some!

Perhaps, talking about sustainability is part of their therapy to help deal with the “trauma” associated with contemplating consultancy-sponsored questions relating to the, apparently, numerous strains of a growing complexity pandemic!? I DO wonder how many [CEO’s or consultants] have recognised the relationship between the two? Irrespective we should ALL be grateful that both are now on the agenda.

The vast majority of CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business, and they want investors to more accurately value sustainability in their long-term investments, according to a new survey by Accenture and the UN Global Compact.

The survey involved 766 CEOs and top executives, including face-to-face interviews with over 50 of the world’s foremost business executives.

This new research found that:

  • 93 percent of the CEOs polled believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business.
  • 86 percent want investors to better price sustainability issues into valuations.
  • CEOs are addressing sustainability issues in new ways.  For instance, 58 percent of survey respondents cited the consumer among their most important stakeholders, even above employees (45 percent) and governments (39 percent).
  • 91 percent of those polled said that their company would be employing new technologies and innovation to help meet sustainability goals over the next five years.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are increasingly important. 78 percent of survey respondents feel that companies should engage in industry collaborations and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address sustainability goals.

In 2006, the UN launched the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI), a $20 trillion effort developed to persuade mainstream investors to better integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into valuations and investment processes. At a major UN Summit in New York City last week, Donald MacDonald, PRI Chairman urged investors to ‘push further’ despite recent progress.

“Time and again investors have seen how ESG issues can affect investment performance and there is now a critical mass of institutional investors who know that good management of these issues is an  important factor in for the  long-term financial success of their investments.  I expect the next decade to be an age of responsibility for capital markets,” he said. “If a company has poor corporate governance or persists with bad environmental management then it can, and should, affect the long-term valuation of the company. The truth is that’s still a relatively new concept for many investors, but there are now leaders in mainstream markets that have developed the tools and models to integrate sustainability and who can push the global capital markets beyond the tipping point on sustainability.”

The 60-page report, titled A New Era of Sustainability, is available here.

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