Why Are CEOs Worried About Sustainability?

Beth Dean 11.07.23
2023-11-07 Nextep blog - CEOs and sustainability

At Nextep, we aim to stay informed about CEO concerns in order to better help with problem-solving. We were surprised to learn that sustainability has become a top concern.

The statistics bring CEO concerns to light:

  • A Gartner survey found that CEO concern about sustainability has increased 292% from their 2021-22 survey.
  • In a survey of 2,600 CEOs by the UN Global Compact and Accenture, 98% of CEOs agreed that sustainability is core to their role.
  • A survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 51% of CEOs say sustainability is a top challenge for their businesses, up from 32% in 2021, ahead of regulation, cyber risk, technology infrastructure, and supply chain disruption.
  • The IBM survey also found that 80% of CEOs expect investments in it to deliver higher business results over the next five years.
  • A study by the World Economic Forum found that 70% of CEOs believe that it will be a major driver of economic growth in the next five years.

These statistics show that CEOs are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of their businesses, both in terms of the environment and social responsibility. They are also seeing the potential for sustainability to drive innovation and growth.

But why the concern?

There are many reasons why CEOs are concerned about sustainability, but a few notable reasons are evident.

Environment: Businesses have a responsibility to address climate change by becoming more sustainable and reducing their environmental impact.

Economy: Companies that prioritize sustainability tend to have better customer, employee, and investor retention rates. They’re also better equipped to handle future challenges, including those posed by climate change.

Regulations: Governments worldwide are implementing sustainability regulations. Businesses ignoring sustainability may be fined.

Public pressure: Consumers are increasingly demanding that businesses be sustainable. Businesses that do not meet these demands could lose customers.

Risk management: By becoming more sustainable, businesses can reduce their exposure to risks such as climate change, water scarcity, and pollution.

The business case for sustainability

There is yet more data showing that sustainable practices make good business sense.

  • In a survey conducted by Accenture, 72% of respondents reported actively purchasing more environmentally friendly products compared to five years ago; 81% expect to buy even more over the next five years.
  • According to a survey by McKinsey, a significant number of consumers (around 60 to 70%) are willing to spend more money on products that come in sustainable packaging.
  • Businesses that prioritize sustainability attract and retain top talent worldwide, according to Anthesis Group‘s survey.

So how can your company take steps towards being more sustainable? Stay tuned and find out in next week’s blog!

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