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A New Era of Sustainability: UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study 2010

Posted. 04.08.2010


CEO reflections on progress to date, challenges ahead and the impact of the journey toward a sustainable economy.

The sustainability landscape is changing. 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.

This is one of the most significant headlines of our survey of 766 United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) member CEOs, extensive interviews with an additional 50 member CEOs and further interviews with more than 50 business and civil society leaders. The scale of this research is such that it represents the largest such study of CEOs ever conducted on the topic of sustainability.

In the course of our survey and conversations with CEOs, we have witnessed a fundamental shift since the last Global Compact survey in 2007. Then, sustainability was just emerging on the periphery of business issues, an increasing concern that was beginning to reshape the rules of competition. Three years later, sustainability is truly top of mind for CEOs around the world. While environmental,
social and governance challenges continue to grow and CEOs wrestle with competing strategic priorities, sustainable business practices and products are opening up new markets and sources of demand; driving new business models and sources of innovation; changing industry cost structures; and beginning to permeate business from corporate strategy to all elements of operations.

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