Sustainability progress comes down to a few key company behaviours

Sustainability has been a priority on boardroom agendas for a while now. But no matter how far along you are on your journey to integrate sustainability into your business, you will always face internal and external hurdles. How you deal with those determines whether you're on the right path or need to rethink and reinvest your efforts.

360 degree view of a man standing one a beach during a sunset

To position yourself for long-term success, you need to be able to identify the necessary steps to take your sustainability transformation to the next level. What opportunities offer the biggest potential to move you forward in your journey? Our latest sustainability report, 'From Purpose to Progress', reveals how the gap between the most advanced businesses - the so-called 'leaders' - and the 'laggards' comes down to a few key company behaviours. What sets leaders apart is their holistic approach to innovation; it places sustainability at the core of their proposition and empowers people's potential to drive sustainable value. For example, CEOs in businesses classified as leaders are 50% more likely to have ultimate responsibility for sustainability, while laggards are twice as likely to allocate ultimate sustainability responsibility to someone in a CSR role.

We’ve identified five key behaviours and attitudes that you can use to activate your brand’s transformation. Leaders innovate in these areas to drive sustainable progress through their business models, supply chains, and employees.

1: Commitments are platitudes unless management paradigms are impacted by them

Only 20% of executives indicate that sustainability is integrated into their business as a distributed and collective responsibility.

2: A company is only as sustainable as its products and services

The most advanced sustainability leaders ensure that sustainability is embedded in every lifecycle step, from value proposition to operations. On average, they invest twice as much in creating products with sustainability at the core.

3: Incomplete data is too often an excuse for inaction.

Rather than adding more layers to your data pool, your strategy should focus on better use of your data.

4: The current collaboration level needs improvement in ambition and creativity.

Two in three executives indicate that their sustainability efforts have positively impacted stakeholder relationships. Yet, only 52% of companies say they collaborate with strategic partners to improve their sustainability practices.

5: Companies must do a better job engaging employees in sustainability

Your people likely represent your greatest untapped resource: 49% of executives indicate that employee knowledge and training are among the most significant challenges to their sustainability efforts.

Highlighting these behaviours will lessen the gap between companies seen as leaders and those identified as laggards and ultimately help progress companies towards a more sustainable future.

Want to take your sustainability efforts to the next level? Read the full report here.