Sustainability splits industry sectors as CEOs see sustainability as an engine for growth

Source: United Nations Global Compact and Accenture

Jun 17, 2011

A new research study published by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture shows major differences in perceptions of sustainability between CEOs in different industry sectors, and significant gaps in the level of integration of sustainability already achieved in their companies, despite an overall trend towards seeing sustainability as an opportunity for value creation and business success.

A New Era of Sustainability, the original study by Accenture and the UN Global Compact, showed that 93% of 766 CEOs surveyed believe that sustainability will be “important” or “very important” to the future success of their company. The study released today looked much more closely at industry-level data with in-depth examinations of CEO responses in seven key industry sectors.

Upon closer examination, significant differences appear at the industry level: 100% of automotive CEOs and 100% of executives heading large consumer goods companies, see sustainability as critical to their success. CEOs in the banking sector, which has not traditionally focused on sustainability, also see these issues as a strategic priority: 68% regard sustainability as ”very important” to their future success, and 63% report that their company is integrating sustainability “much more” than five years ago.

Conversely, only 22% of CEOs in the communications sector perceive sustainability to be a “very important” factor in shaping their future success, the lowest in any of the seven industries. However, research suggests that even in this sector, sustainability may be growing in importance, with 70% of CEOs seeing the potential for revenue growth and cost reduction as a primary motivation for taking action on sustainability – the highest figure across the seven sectors.

Learn more about A New Era of Sustainability