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CEOs around the world are starting to see the shape of a new era of sustainability coming into view.
In the face of rising global competition, technological change and the most serious economic downturn in nearly a century, corporate commitment to the principles of sustainability remains strong throughout the world: 93 percent of CEOs see sustainability as important to their company’s future success, a figure that reaches 98 percent among CEOs in the consumer goods industry, and fully 100 percent among CEOs of large multinationals in the sector.
As a follow-on to last year’s study by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture, “A New Era of Sustainability”, this new study investigates the specific issues and concerns facing consumer goods companies. The study includes a wide sampling of major consumer goods executives around the world—107 CEOs from 46 countries – and in-depth interviews with the CEOs of some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including Diageo, Heineken, Natura, Nestlé, Timberland and Unilever.
From the research, some high-level findings from consumer goods CEOs include:
98 percent believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business.
97 percent believe that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into the strategy and operations of a company.
79 percent cite "brand, trust and reputation" as a critical factor driving them to take action on sustainability issues.
79 percent identify consumers as an important stakeholder in influencing the way they manage societal expectations.
51 percent cite the complexity of implementation as the most significant barrier to embedding sustainability.
92 percent believe that companies should integrate sustainability through their supply chain; only 59% believe that their company has done so.
75 percent see "accurate valuation by investors" of sustainability as important to reaching a tipping point in sustainability.
64 percent see education as the global development issue most critical to address for the future success of their business.
94 percent report that their company will employ new technologies to address sustainability issues over the next five years.
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