Thursday, June 14, 2012

Study Finds Sustainability is Vital to Growth

According to new research by Accenture, the vast majority of businesses say that sustainability is vital to their future growth. More than three quarters (78%) of the 250 senior executives polled indicated that sustainability is vital to their future growth and almost half (44%) indicated that sustainability is critical. Nearly two thirds (62%) said that their sustainability initiatives were motivated by customer expectations and almost the same number (62%) said they were motivated by the opportunity to drive growth. Less than half (41%) said they were motivated by regulatory compliance and less than one third (29%) indicated they were motivated by the need to reduce energy and material costs.

Despite a clear trend towards sustainability, almost half say that the margins are currently lower on sustainable products and services. Almost twice as many business people said their sustainability investments were motivated by growth rather than efficiencies (41 percent versus 22 percent).

While the vast majority (83 percent) of responding senior decision makers see spending on sustainability as an investment rather than a cost, a majority (56 percent) say it is currently more expensive to be a sustainable business. Just under half of respondents (49 percent) said that margins are currently lower on sustainable products and services.

"The good news is that companies now systematically see sustainability as being vital to their future growth and core to their business," said Bruno Berthon, Managing Director, Sustainability Services at Accenture. "Sustainability has broken free from the realm of regulatory pressure and reputation management, and is now rising into a virtuous circle of commercial opportunity and investment growth. Businesses must now industrialize and scale production in order to drive higher levels of productivity, operational discipline and cost optimization into what can often be immature operating models in high growth sustainable markets."

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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