Almost three-quarters – 72 percent – of C-level executives in the U.S., U.K. and China believe that the benefits of their sustainability initiatives have exceeded expectations, according to a survey by consultants Accenture.
In the survey of 247 executives, only four per cent said these initiatives had fallen short of their goals, Business Green reports. Of those polled, 42 percent said the sustainability programs had lowered costs, 41 percent said they improved brand equity, and almost half said they had raised stakeholders’ trust in their companies.
“All the factors driving this are developing fast. For example, if you invested in an energy efficiency project two years ago, the rising price of energy means the benefits could be double what you expected,” Accenture Sustainability Services managing director Bruno Berthon said.
He added that because of evolving economic, social and regulatory forces, environmental programs could continue to outperform executives’ projections.
Accenture has also just released seven industry reports, exploring how CEOs see sustainability as an increasingly important part of their response to their sectors’ key strategic challenges. The reports cover the automotive, banking, communications, consumer goods, energy, utilities, and infrastructure and transportation industries.
The consumer goods study (see chart, above) found that fully 100 percent of CEOs of large multinational companies in the sector believe that sustainability will be important to their future success, compared to 93 percent of CEOs across all industries.
In the communications sector, just 22 percent of CEOs – compared to 54 percent globally – believe these issues will be “very important” to their future success. But Accenture said that its conversations with communications industry figures suggest that leading companies are beginning to realize how they can take advantage of new solutions to meet sustainability challenges.