Then & Now: CEO Perspectives on Sustainability

By Jane Porter | Winter 2011

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In 2007, executives met at the United Nations world headquarters in Geneva to talk about their role in corporate citizenship.  There they discussed findings from a study conducted by McKinsey & Company that examined CEO perspectives on sustainability.  What resulted was the 21-point Geneva Declaration, a document that set out to define the role of business in society.

This past summer, executives regrouped in New York to discuss the findings of the 2010 Accenture CEO study.  The numbers alone showed a shift in their thinking about the issue.  Here is a look at the then and now on corporate sustainability:

CEOs who say...

Sustainability is now embedded in their company strategy 50% 81%
Consumers are the most important stakeholder influencing how they will manage societal expectations in the next five years 50% 58%
Engaging with external groups is a key barrier to embedding sustainability companywide: 17% 30%
Companies should embed sustainability efforts into their global supply chain: 59% 88%
Companies should include sustainability objectives in employee performance assessment: 49% 76%