ESOMAR Congress 2009: sustainability, market research vs management consultants and overall Congress themes

James Aitchison

Adam Werbach's strategy for sustainability 

Sustainability, believes Adam Werbach, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi S, is an irresistible force that the corporate world cannot ignore.

"Companies will be a part of sustainability, or they'll be bowled over by it," the author of Strategy for Sustainability and CEO of the world's largest sustainability agency predicted in his late afternoon keynote address on Thursday.

It's a view borne out by the findings he presented of an eight-country study of consumer attitudes to sustainability conducted by his own agency. Surveying the US, UK, Japan, BRIC countries and Mexico, it found people placed a surprisingly similar levels of importance on all issues implicated in the sustainability debate. So social issues (59%), economic issues (53%) and cultural issues (36%), more than held their own against the importance placed on environmental issues (58%).