Sustainability deals with
Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
More recently, the definition of sustainability has been expanded to include cultural and political domains as well. Sustainability pillars have recently expanded to include cultural, political, and technological areas.
Key Sustainability Study Areas. Economic Sustainability — Economic opportunity is available to everyone and people are making a livable wage to provide food and shelter for their families. Economic Sustainability is typically dealt with by businesses internally by examining their triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. Our learning programs help organizations accelerate growth by unlocking their people's potential. The survey was conducted in February and received responses from 1, executives representing a wide range of industries and regions.
Yet companies are not taking a proactive approach to managing sustainability: only around 30 percent of executives say their companies actively seek opportunities to invest in sustainability or embed it in their business practices, for example.
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This survey explored how companies define sustainability, how they manage it, why they engage in activities related to sustainability, and how they assess as well as communicate this engagement. Energy companies, which are overall more engaged in sustainability activities than are companies in other industries likely as a result of potential regulation and natural-resource constraints , were excluded from this group. These companies are much likelier than others to reap value in the form of reputation building, cost savings, and growth opportunities. Energy companies, not surprisingly, also take a more active approach.
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Among those that do, the definition varies: 55 percent define sustainability as the management of issues related to the environment for example, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, waste management, green-product development, and water conservation. In addition, 48 percent say it includes the management of governance issues such as complying with regulations, maintaining ethical practices, and meeting accepted industry standards , and 41 percent say it includes the management of social issues for instance, working conditions and labor standards.
Fifty-six percent of all the respondents define sustainability in two or more ways. Executives in business-to-business companies are likelier than their counterparts in consumer-facing companies to seek new growth opportunities through sustainability activities 20 percent, versus 14 percent. Even with this range of definitions, most respondents see sustainability as creating real value: 76 percent of executives say sustainability contributes positively to shareholder value in the long term, and 50 percent see short-term value creation.
In addition, 55 percent agree that investment in sustainability helps their companies build reputation, and 36 percent see building reputation as a top reason for addressing sustainability issues Exhibit 1. Given that reasoning, it makes sense that most respondents report their companies incorporate sustainability in reputation-building efforts. But companies consider sustainability in a wide range of other business activities as well Exhibit 2.
Around 60 percent consider sustainability important to overall corporate strategy, for example. Thirty-one percent say business units or functional managers take on this responsibility, and 25 percent say their corporate social responsibility departments do so. By contrast, senior executives in the energy industry take an active approach to managing sustainability, likely because of the potential for regulation and increasing natural-resource constraints. Except among energy companies, reporting practices are relatively poor, considering the impact executives say sustainability has on business.
Similarly, 54 percent of respondents in the energy industry say their companies embed sustainability data in communications with investors, compared with 35 percent overall.
At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything we do.
These engaged companies actively seek opportunities to invest in sustainability: 88 percent of the respondents in this group say so, compared with 23 percent of all others Exhibit 6. Further, a strong majority consider sustainability important in a wide range of areas: developing and marketing products and services, planning investments, managing internal operations, developing regulatory strategy, managing corporate reputation and brands, and overall corporate strategy.
Other findings indicate how much sustainability is a part of the fabric of these companies.