Who owns sustainability within a business? | WARC | The Feed
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Who owns sustainability within a business?
Businesses and brands frequently make all the right noises about sustainability, but if you want to know how committed they really are, ask whose responsibility it is – and if it’s not the CEO it’s perhaps justifiable to feel sceptical about their claims.
Leaders and laggards
Global research* from experience innovation consultancy Designit finds a gap between businesses spearheading positive change and those stalling for time. A ‘leaders’ group is far more likely to have made the CEO responsible for sustainable practices, while a ‘lagDesignitgards’ group tends to leave these matters to a CSR role.
- Leaders constantly review their strategies, with 78% always including it on their quarterly boardroom agendas.
- Laggards consider sustainability at this level infrequently – 11% do so only once a year.
Why it matters
Sustainability is about more than just marketing: leaders in sustainability practices experience more benefits for their efforts, according to Designit – and they reference profitability as a driver for sustainability almost twice as much as the least advanced businesses (70% and 38%, respectively).
Barriers to progress
- Half (49%) of all businesses state that having too much data to make sense of, or not having the right data, is the biggest single barrier to sustainability.
- More than half (54%) of all businesses have difficulty integrating sustainability innovation into products – and on average they spend only 4% of their revenue on sustainability.
- The majority of companies (63%) state that rising costs are the biggest external barrier to sustainability, but unclear government guidelines are also a challenging roadblock (47%), alongside geopolitical instability (43%), and technological constraints (42%).
“What really sets the most advanced businesses apart is an innovative approach to sustainability. They are intent on consistently and holistically applying strategic design innovation until it forms part of the organisation’s DNA and extends into its wider value chain” – Miguel Sabel Pereira, Designit’s European Head of Sustainability.
*Findings are based on responses from 1,000 sustainability professionals with an influence on or responsibility/accountability for sustainability, ESG or corporate responsibility within large organisations.
Sourced from Designit
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