The new study by Coca-Cola Enterprises regards leadership as an important key factor to sustainability.
While carbon reduction and broader sustainability objectives have been on European boardroom agendas for more than a decade, the onset of the financial crisis in 2008 prompted many to predict that companies would abandon their sustainability investments. This has not proved the case. In the face of tough economic conditions, companies have continued to push ahead with sustainability initiatives. Those having the greatest success are forming wider partnerships with external organisations such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), universities, suppliers or customers.
As this research reveals, companies are using technology to improve engagement with customers, measure their environmental impact and source clean tech ideas. Internally, companies are working to ensure all levels of management are committed to sustainability goals, though few have formalised this by engaging C-level executives. Many are developing more sustainable products and services.
While significant minority views sustainability as a source of competitive advantage, the battle to embed sustainability in business is far from over. Financial obstacles continue to hinder companies’ progress, and while executives acknowledge that sustainability can deliver business advantages, most still see this in terms of improved reputation.
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