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Accenture-UN Study Examines CEO Views on Sustainability Strategies

Sixty-seven percent of respondents say organizations lack initiatives to align sustainability with their business goals

Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact have released a study that shows majority of CEOs worldwide view businesses as falling short of strategies to meet sustainability requirements.

Accenture polled 1,000 CEOs and the triennial study contains interviews with 75 CEOs as well as analysis of how companies integrated sustainability into their business performance, Accenture said Friday.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents say organizations lack initiatives to align sustainability with their business goals, according to the survey.

Seventy-eight percent of responding CEOs also say sustainability leads to business growth and development of new technologies and 79 percent consider it a competitive edge.

Insufficient financial resources and tough economic conditions are among the barriers that 51 percent and 40 percent of the surveyed chief executives, respectively, say hinder their efforts to embed sustainability into their businesses.

Eighty three percent of respondents have called for government actions on stringent regulations before they could further sustainability initiatives.

“CEOs’ initial optimism has given way to the belief that the constraints of market structures and incentives prevent them from embedding sustainability at the heart of their business,” said Sander van ‘t Noordende, group CEO of Accenture Management Consulting.

Noordende adds that organizations must acknowledge the alignment of commercial and sustainable accomplishments even in tight economic environments before the governments can intervene.

"These companies are harnessing sustainability as an opportunity for growth, innovation and differentiation, and demonstrate that sustainable business is good business,” Noordende says.

More Stories By Tim Watson

Tim Watson supervises all media production at Executive Mosaic, a digital media company that provides insight, information and analysis on several industries, including government contracting.

He previously produced byline coverage with the economics team at USA Today and evaluated lending proposals for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Tim was born and raised in Washington, DC and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business-Journalism from Washington and Lee University and a certificate in budgeting and finance from Georgetown University's School of Continuing Professional Education.

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