UN Global Compact and Accenture releases its global CEO study on corporate sustainability, highlighting the approaches adopted by the companies to align sustainability leadership with market performance.

A survey conducted by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture reports that more than two thirds of chief executives i.e.  67 per cent believe that business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges. Amid evidence that CEOs are strongly committed to embedding sustainability throughout their organizations, the vast majority now call for action to incentivize and reward sustainability leaders and unlock the full potential of the private sector.

Published in  The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 2013: Architects of a Better World,  the study includes in depth interviews with 75 CEOs and an analysis of those companies that successfully combine sustainability leadership with market leading business performance.

The survey also includes views of business leaders on the private sector’s progress in addressing global sustainability challenges. It is the latest triennial global poll by the UN Global Compact and Accenture, and the largest such study of top executives ever conducted on sustainability.

As the UN Global Compact continues to see rapid growth, with almost 8,000 corporate participants, the study demonstrates broadening awareness on the part of global business of the opportunities presented by sustainability. 78 per cent of surveyed CEOs see sustainability as a route to growth and innovation, and 79 per cent believe that it will lead to competitive advantage in their industry. However, CEOs see the economic climate and a range of competing priorities creating obstacles to embedding sustainability at scale within their companies.

This year, 93 per cent of respondents have said that environmental, social and governance issues are important to the future of their business which equals the same proportion of the previous study in 2010. But the proportion describing sustainability as very important has fallen from 54 per cent to 45 per cent, including only 34 per cent of CEOs in Europe. While 84 per cent believe that business should lead the way in addressing sustainability challenges, they also point to a number of barriers.

“As the CEO study reflects, the challenge at hand is to unlock the full potential of corporate sustainability to transform markets and societies around the world,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.  “With thousands of companies, from market leaders to small enterprises, committed to responsible business practices, we can see that there is enormous momentum. Now, we need policymakers, investors and consumers to send the right signals to spur the next level of corporate sustainability action, innovation and collaboration.”


SOURCE: United Nations Global Compact


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