Company chiefs commit to sustainability despite recession

24 June 2010

25 June 2010 | Andy Allen

Most CEOs believe sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies, in spite of poor economic conditions.

A survey of 766 CEOs worldwide by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture found that the global economic downturn has actually raised their commitment to sustainability.

But the study found while 88 per cent of CEOs believe they should be integrating sustainability through their supply chain, only 54 per cent say this is being achieved in their company.

According to the report, A New Era of Sustainability, 80 per cent of CEOs say the downturn has raised the importance of sustainability within their organisations. The study, which also involved extensive interviews with 50 leading CEOs, found the move towards sustainability was driven by consumer opinion.

“CEOs told us they have, by necessity, been on the defensive during the downturn, but that they feel now is the time to get on the front foot in aligning sustainability with core business strategy and execution,” said Mark Foster, Accenture's group chief executive, management consulting and global markets.

Peter Lacy, managing director, sustainability services at Accenture for Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, and the leader of the study, added: “It is clear from the survey results that global business has its work cut out in order to build sustainability programmes that become key components of a company's core business.”

The UN Global Compact is to launch practical guidance for buyers, developed with the help of private sector companies, on how to manage supply chain sustainability at its 2010 Leaders Summit held over the next two days.

* Click here to read an article about what the new advice will cover at our sister site IFPSM (available to CIPS members only).

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