The Bottom Line for Sustainability: Accenture/UN Global Compact Study

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84 percent of CEOs believe that business should lead efforts to define and deliver sustainability goals. But only 33 percent report that business is making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges. That’s the sobering finding of an Accenture/United Nations Global Compact CEO study that polled 1,000 CEOs across 103 countries and 27 industries.

This gap between belief and action indicates two important facts. Number one, that the C-suite has largely bought into the idea of sustainability, however variously it is defined in different sectors, from environmental footprint and sustainable supply chain to reputational management and values marketing. And Number two, there is a huge lag in putting sustainable goals, missions, and targets into action.

Those surveyed indicated an awareness of some urgency to deal with the gap: only 32 percent believe that the global economy is now on track to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. And a significant number also believe that business as usual isn’t enough to get the job done: 37 percent see the lack of a link to business value as a barrier to accelerating progress. The survey’s most hopeful number? 81 percent of CEOs believe that the sustainability reputation of their company is important in consumers’ buying decisions. That figure indicates room for growth at the bottom line for sustainability in the coming year.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.