CEO Study on Sustainability

An excellent report called “The UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 2013, Architects of a Better World” is one of the world's largest CEO studies on sustainability to date. It had more than 1,000 top executives from 27 industries across 103 countries discuss a new global architecture for businesses contributing to global priorities.

Peter Lacy, CEO Study Lead and Managing Director of Accenture Strategy & Sustainability Asia Pacific, outlined in the introduction that sustainability has become established on the leadership agenda of almost every leading business.

He wrote that “This year is a unique opportunity to take stock as we stand at a crossroads in the global economy. Business leaders are committed to leading the way, but will require greater ambition and wider support as they work to align sustainability impact with value creation, and markets with sustainable development outcomes, such that business leaders can truly become the architects of a better world.”

Refocus of Business Leaders – Top Priorities

Business leaders are refocusing, and the report shows that two thirds of responding CEOs outlined the following top three priorities for the future success of their business:

1. Growth and employment: 64 percent

2. Education: 40 percent

3. Energy: 39 percent

Link between Sustainability and Business Value

CEOs were asked as part of the study, what barriers they had to further progress in embedding sustainability into their organization. CEOs saw one factor arising more than any other over the past decade: the lack of a link between sustainability and business value. CEOs are clear that action must be justified against traditional measures of success.[1] The report lists two areas for the agenda for action:

1. Government intervention to align public policy with sustainability at global, national, and local levels, including hard measures on regulations, standards, and taxation

2. Company sharing, to learn from others who are already leading the way, harnessing sustainability as an opportunity for innovation and growth, and delivering business value and sustainability impact at scale

  • [1] “UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 2013 Report,” /sustainability-index.aspx.
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