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Nearly a third of companies worldwide say sustainability is contributing to their profits
Sustainability now occupies a central and permanent place in corporate boardrooms; 31% of companies worldwide say sustainability is contributing to their profits, and 70% have placed sustainability permanently on their management agenda, according to a new global study by MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The study, entitled Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point, found that two-thirds of companies see sustainability as necessary to being competitive in today's marketplace, up from 55% a year earlier. In addition, two thirds of respondents said management attention to, and investment in, sustainability has increased in the last year.
The study also shows that while 70 - 80% of organizations in the Middle East and Africa indicated an increased level of commitment to sustainability in the previous year, more than 80% of companies are planning on increasing this commitment in 2012.
The third annual Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study by MIT SMR and BCG comprises a survey of more than 2,800 corporate leaders representing every major industry and region of the world and a series of in-depth interviews with experts and corporate practitioners from a range of disciplines and organizations.
The study focuses on "Harvesters"--the 31% of companies that say that sustainability is contributing to their profits. Harvesters are not merely implementing individual initiatives such as lowering carbon emissions, reducing energy consumption, or investing in clean technologies; they are changing their operating frameworks and strategies.
Harvesters tend to have a distinctive organizational mind-set and design that supports sustainability. Rend Stephan, Partner & Managing Director in BCG, Middle East said: "Compared to non-Harvesters, Harvesters are three times as likely to have a business case for sustainability. They are also 50% more likely to have CEO commitment to sustainability, twice as likely to have a separate sustainability reporting process and twice as likely to have a separate function for sustainability. Harvesters are also 50% more likely to have a person responsible for sustainability in each business unit and more than 2.5 times as likely to have a chief sustainability officer."
The report identifies three key areas where sustainability has driven significant organizational change among Harvesters: changes in organizational structure, a business model for sustainability and greater collaboration among geographic business units, customers and suppliers.
For more details on the study's findings and interview transcripts, please visit the Sustainability & Innovation website.
A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com including further industry-specific analysis: