Sustainability = profitability, say companies

11th March 2013


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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Management/saving

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IEMA

Sustainability is paying off for a growing number of firms, according to a US study, with more than one-third of companies polled agreeing that such initiatives had aided profitability

The fourth annual global survey of executives and managers by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) finds that 37% of the 2,600 responding from commercial organisations say that sustainability-related actions have added to their company’s profit in the past 12 months. This is a 23% increase on the previous year.

Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed also report that their firm has changed business model as a result of sustainability opportunities – a 20% increase on the 2012 figure. Customers’ preference for sustainable products and services, and resource scarcity are cited as the two main drivers for change.

“Consumers, especially in Europe, are increasingly aware of a product’s sustainability credentials and are willing to pay a premium for environmentally sound products and services,” the report said.

The results of the latest BCG survey demonstrate that pursuing sustainability-related strategies is increasingly seen as crucial for maintaining competitiveness. Sixty per cent of respondents report that sustainability is already key to remaining competitive, while a further 31% claim it will be in the future.

In total, 70% of respondents believe their organisation’s commitment to sustainability – in terms of management attention and investment – will increase significantly over the next year.

Survey respondents were asked to rank the top three sustainability challenges facing their organisation over the next three years.

Energy scarcity and energy price volatility is regarded as the number one priority, with 78% of those polled placing it in their top three. This was followed by: waste and waste management (52%); limited access to raw materials (51%); climate change (37%); and water scarcity (28%).

The report makes it clear that many large companies are turning to their supply chains to reduce energy use, simplify packaging, mitigate commodity price risks and meet customer sustainability expectations.

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