At its core, sustainability entails doing business without negatively impacting the world around us. Sustainability spans environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues—from transitioning to a zero-carbon economy to protecting human rights to advancing inclusion and diversity. Companies that adhere to these ESG standards while maintaining performance at scale are considered responsible companies, and they’re paving the path towards creating a better world.
Just as the digital revolution transformed how people live and work, so too will the move toward sustainability.
The world’s leading organizations have several things in common: they simultaneously grow their sustainability and competitiveness; they address climate change and they solve the biggest problems needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Reaching or exceeding sustainability and ESG goals and maintaining stellar performance at scale is not an either-or proposition. It’s a basic business requirement for enterprises across every sector.
Leaders have long understood that what we measure shapes what we do. And because ESG performance has become an imperative for compliance as well as business performance, mapping a clear route and measuring the business impact of sustainability is key.
In fact, stakeholders reward companies that demonstrate value creation and impact as they deliver on sustainable development goals.
Between 2013 and 2020, companies with consistently high ESG performance tended to score 2.6x higher on total shareholder return than those with medium ESG performance.
Leaders increasingly understand the need to measure the impact of ESG on their business, but many struggles to take the appropriate action.
The health, economic and social crises of recent years have raised people’s expectations about the role of business in solving global problems. While leaders hear the call to action, many find shaping more sustainable and equitable organizations presents a major challenge.
A recent Accenture survey found that relatively few stakeholders have full faith in the sustainability promises that leadership teams make. Just under half of the employees (49%) believe senior leaders “walk the talk” on sustainability “often” or “always.”
The credibility and authenticity of leaders’ sustainability commitments should be of concern. Consensus gaps erode trust in ways that can be felt across the entire enterprise and stymie efforts for change.
Accenture has identified 21 practices that deepen stakeholder relationships and embed their perspectives at the core of the business. These practices constitute Sustainability DNA and strengthen stakeholder-centricity by encouraging human connections, collective intelligence and accountability at all levels.
Sustainability has become a priority for business leaders who face rising calls for change from consumers, investors, regulators and their own employees. But delivering on the promise of sustainable technology will require CIOs to step up. That means working in close collaboration with other executives to identify the technologies that will help the company achieve its sustainability goals. It’s also critical to address the environmental and social impacts of the technology itself.
The remit is clear: Businesses need to be operating more sustainably and responsibly. From strategy to execution, we partner with clients to scale their ESG initiatives so that they can embed responsible business practices into the core of their operations. In doing so, we’re driving value for our clients and making the world a better place—for everyone.
Together with our partners, we help our clients reinvent their businesses at scale, creating business value and sustainable impact for all stakeholders.