CSR Research Digest – December 2012
In a survey by Verdantix, instead of asking CEOs if they personally view sustainability as important for business, the analysis firm asked sustainability leaders how they think their CEOs perceive sustainability. Verdantix interviewed 250 sustainability decision-makers at firms with revenues of over $250 million, across 13 countries and 21 industries.
- More than one third (38 percent) of corporate sustainability leaders say their CEOs take a long-term perspective on sustainability.
- There are stark differences in the governance of sustainability between firms where the CEO is still grappling with the concept and firms where the CEO is better informed.
- Some 12 percent of sustainability leaders say sustainability is a new concept for their CEOs, while 21 percent of CEOs believe sustainability affects quarterly performance.
- Just under a third (31 percent) of those interviewed say that, for their CEOs, sustainability describes their organizations’ medium-term performance on non-financial metrics such as energy, environment and social responsibility.
- The study also found that 62 percent of companies surveyed have an environment, health and safety director at headquarter level, but sustainability program management offices vary in size.
- While 95 percent of firms have a sustainability program management office at headquarter level, 46 percent of these have more than five employees and 49 percent have less than five.
- Fifty-seven percent of sustainability leaders report directly to the CEO; 72 percent report to a different executive officer.