Study reveals generational gap in attitudes towards business and sustainability

1st October 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Management ,
  • Employee engagement ,
  • Corporate governance ,
  • Stakeholder engagement

Author

Rebecca Holmes

Future business leaders have higher expectations of the role business should play in sustainability, according to a survey published today.

The poll, by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) with Cranfield University’s Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and the Financial Times, shows a difference in attitude between the views of today’s chief executives and recent graduates of MBA and MSc courses across Europe.

Both current leaders and the next generation agree that a business’ profit and the ability to provide shareholder value are the best barometers of business success today, the research found.

However, while the overwhelming majority of current CEOs feel that profitability and shareholder value will remain key in the future, 80% of the future leaders see the impact a company has on the environment and society as more important indicators of business success in coming years.

They survey also revealed different attitudes to current performance, with 86% of CEOs believing that businesses already have a social purpose, while only 20% of future leaders believe this to be true.

The two groups also differ in opinion about the barriers to businesses combining social purpose with profit. Two-thirds of CEOs (66%) view external factors, such as government policy and regulation, as barriers, while 55% of future leaders cite internal factors, such as current management attitudes.

John Brock, chair and CEO at CCE said: “Today’s leaders play an essential role in integrating environmental and social issues into strategic decision making, but future generations have even higher expectations of business.”

Some 70% of CEOs said that prioritising social purposes in business ensures its survival, while over half of future leaders identified key returns as more engaged employees, increased innovation and trust in business.

Professor David Grayson, director at the Doughty Centre, said: “By developing clearly defined strategies and identifying new, disruptive approaches now, businesses can better ensure success and relevance in the future.”


Transform articles

Agency prosecution brings largest fine for a water company

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.

23rd September 2021

Read more

In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

30th July 2021

Read more

Thames Water has been fined £4m after untreated sewage escaped from sewers below London into a park and a river.

30th July 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.

30th July 2021

Read more

Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.

5th July 2021

Read more

IEMA has today urged the UK government to focus on developing green skills and expertise across business, industry and civil society following the publication of an alarming report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

16th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert