Stakeholders look to businesses to lead in sustainability

Where does your business stand?

The adoption of sustainability as a fundamental part of business has passed the tipping point. According to the United Nations Global Compact Accenture Strategy CEO Study, nearly all CEOs – 97 percent - believe that sustainability is important to the future success of their business.

Businesses are taking action, not only out of a sense that being responsible citizens of the planet is important, but also in response to growing demand among a variety of stakeholders. Consumers and commercial buyers alike are selectively supporting companies and products that exhibit a commitment to sustainability. Professionals are seeking to apply their time and talent to companies that aim to do more than make a profit. Investors are evaluating companies based on their sustainability goals and performance.

Stakeholders across the board are supporting businesses that champion sustainability, not only with their purchase dollars but also with their careers, their loyalty, their trust and a willingness to pay a premium to companies that “do the right thing.”

More than just business as usual

In support of a more active, holistic presence than just the drive for profitability, consumers’ mindsets are changing toward the purpose and responsibility of the business community.

  • According to Cone Communications, an astounding 87 percent of consumers said when a company supports a social or environment issue, they would be more likely to trust that company.
  • Another 70 percent of consumers believe companies have an obligation to take actions to improve issues that may not be relevant to everyday business operations.

Buyers are going out of their way to support companies that do the right thing

More than ever, buyers are motivated by factors other than price when making purchasing decisions.

  • A Cone Communication survey indicated that 89 percent would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause.
  • In the same survey, 87 percent said they would purchase a product because that company advocated for an issue they cared about.
  • Organizations say that their sustainable procurement program now covers 75 percent or more of their spend volume today, compared with just 27 percent in 2013, according to EcoVadis.

More green means more growth

Pioneering companies that are incorporating sustainability and circular economic models into their business strategies are experiencing new levels of growth and opportunity.

  • In a survey from Pure Insights, 67 percent of companies with sustainability programs reported increased sales based on their sustainability efforts.
  • There are at least nine companies that generate more than a billion dollars exclusively from their green line of business, and their stock outperforms a portfolio of competitors by 11.7 percent per year, according to The Guardian.

Like major advances in technology, sustainability is also a key driver revolutionizing the marketplace and will have an impact on deciding the winners and losers in the new economy. A commitment to sustainability is increasingly a critical success factor for businesses of all kinds.

Businesses with an eye on the marketplace understand that stakeholders are looking to them to advance sustainability. Where does your company stand? See what sustainability can mean to your business at ul.com/perspectives.

 

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By taking action in one key area, a positive chain reaction develops in other areas of sustainability.