Research released by KPMG International and CIES reveals that, far from regarding corporate sustainability as a cost, many leading retailers and manufacturers see sustainability as:
• a driver of innovation that can help build growth and profitability
• integrated into the core business
• driven by business need rather than formal requirements
• having a neutral or positive impact on the bottom line
• playing a crucial role in recruitment and retention
The research also pinpoints the impact the economic downturn is likely to have on companies' commitment to sustainability and the challenges many businesses still face in identifying priorities in this area.
The report is based views of delegates attending a recent CIES World Food Business Summit in Munich. CIES is an independent, global food business network. Nearly half of those questioned felt sustainability was an important driver of innovation. A majority (56.5 percent) say sustainability is now a core element of business strategy.
The results also help pinpoint the forces driving the sustainability agenda, with over a third of companies (34.9 percent) identifying "stakeholder demand" over other pressures such as legal requirements, voluntary codes, taxes and carbon costs.
However, the research shows that 15.5 percent of companies are still without any sustainability strategy, with businesses in EMEA the worst offenders (18.6 percent). The economic downturn is not helping things either. Just over half (52.8 percent) believe that sustainability investment will either be put on hold or reduced in bad economic times. The remainder reported that the impact will have a neutral or positive impact on sustainability investment.
"This confirms that the adoption of sustainable business strategies is not primarily driven by formal requirements, but rather by the imperative of business need," says Neil Austin, Global Chairman, Consumer Markets, KPMG in the U.K.
Visit www.kpmg.co.uk, www.ciesnet.com
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