Shippers increasingly see sustainability as a key to business goals

Admin– The number of companies saying they are pursuing sustainability as a key part of their business strategy has surged in the past two years as more senior executives are apparently taking the issue seriously, according to a survey by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

About 43 percent of executives in a global McKinsey survey say they are pursuing sustainability because of their company’s overall business strategy, mission or goals, making it the most commonly cited reason for pursuing sustainability, McKinsey says. That’s up from 30 percent in 2012 (the last time the survey was carried out) and up from 21 percent in 2010.

The pursuit of sustainability policies for cost-cutting ‒ which was the most common reason cited in 2012, mentioned by 36 percent of executives ‒ is cited by only 26 percent of executives in this year’s survey, making it the third most-common reason this year, McKinsey explains. According to the 2014 survey, reputation management is the second most popular reason, cited by 36 percent of executives, compared with 35 percent in 2012, 32 percent in 2011 and 36 percent in 2010.

‘According to executives, sustainability is becoming a more strategic and integral part of their businesses,’ the researchers say in the study. ‘In past surveys, when asked about their company’s reasons for pursuing sustainability, respondents most often cited cost-cutting or reputation management.’

The number of CEOs who cite sustainability as their top priority almost tripled to 13 percent this year from 5 percent in 2012, McKinsey says. At the same time, the number of CEOs who cite it as a top-three priority has fallen slightly, to 36 percent from 37 percent. The number of other executives who see sustainability as a top three priority has risen to 32 percent from 24 percent.

The most common activity related to sustainability is the reduction of energy use, cited by 64 percent of respondents, followed by reducing waste, at 63 percent, and managing corporate reputation for sustainability, at 59 percent.