Senior leadership key to driving sustainable business model
Senior leadership is the most critical driver of sustainability within a business and nearly half of businesses (44%) believe engagement with business leaders will be the most important factor in successfully implementing a sustainability strategy over the next three years, finds a new report.
Additionally, at board level, 28% have periodic meetings addressing sustainability, but only 18% of companies have directors who assess the success of sustainability initiatives.
These are the findings of Sustainability Insights: Learning from Business Leaders, a study commissioned by Coca-Cola Enterprises) and developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The research identifies the need to build a stronger business case to convince the wider European business community of the value of putting sustainability at the heart of its operations. While 52% of companies have been able to maintain their sustainability agenda despite the economic downturn, almost half (44%) of respondents report that the biggest barrier to implementing a sustainability strategy is perceived high costs, coupled with a lack of belief in rates of return.
For those companies that recognize the value of sustainability, the benefits they cite include differentiation from competitors (32%) and enhanced stakeholder engagement (29%). While only one in five (21%) cite boosted profits as a key benefit of their sustainability endeavours.