Sustainability leaders growing in executive influence, says Verdantix
According to a new global survey of 260 heads of sustainability conducted by Verdantix, the independent analyst company, sustainability leaders have increasing executive committee influence.
Their decision-making authority and budgetary contributions span a wide range of areas including assurance, consulting, energy management, natural capital, reporting, supply chain and other sustainability activities. Over 90% of responding firms have a sustainability leader who reports into the CEO or another member of the executive committee.
“We found that while few sustainability leaders point to large budget increases, our results reveal sustainability spending across entire organizations is typically up to ten times bigger than the sustainability team’s budget with over two-thirds expecting corporate-wide spending growth” stated Yaowen Ma, Verdantix analyst and author of the report.
The report, Global Survey 2014: Sustainability Budgets And Priorities is based on interviews with senior sustainability decision-makers and budget-holders from 260 firms with revenues between $250m and over $20bn. The Heads of Sustainability were from 13 territories: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, South Africa, the UK, and the USA. Respondents’ firms spanned 21 industries covering business and financial services, consumer services, energy and basic resources, manufacturing, and retail and consumer products.
The report found that firms favour spending on employees with 28% of sustainability budgets being invested on employees and 21% spent on consulting services (10% of budgets are spent on assurance providers). Interestingly, 8 out of 10 firms already publish sustainability reports but only 39% of firms pay for external assurance of their entire sustainability or integrated report.