MIT Sloan Survey: take up of business critical sustainability initiatives has reached tipping point

Number of companies profiting from sustainability lower but rising.

A notable survey of almost 3,000 companies has found that two thirds believe having a sustainability policy is critical to being competitive – up from 55% in 2010 – which it says indicates the reaching of a ‘tipping point’.
The survey by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group of 2,874 corporate respondents found that 70% of those that had put sustainability issues on their management agenda had done so in the last six years, while 20% had done so in the past two years, indicating a speeding up of interest despite the economic downturn. The majority of respondents said they were mostly focused on “economic sustainability” (62.1%), followed by environmental and corporate social responsibility issues, increased emphasis on long-term perspective and employee health and well-being.However, the survey said the number of companies currently profiting from sustainability was much lower at 31%, but rising. It said these companies were likely to be highly committed to both external and internal sustainability policies, 50% more likely to have CEO commitment to sustainability, twice as likely to have a separate sustainability reporting process and twice as likely to have a separate function for sustainability than businesses that don’t profit from sustainable initiatives. It said profitable sustainability companies were also 50% more likely to have a person responsible for sustainability in each business unit and nearly 2.5 times as likely to have a chief sustainability officer.
The respondents to the survey were located around the world, with more than 40% doing business in at least three regions, led by Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand across a variety of industries.