Thursday Feb 21, 2013

The Case for Corporate Sustainability Gets Stronger

By Jon Chorley, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President SCM Product Strategy, Oracle

Much has changed in the world of corporate sustainability over the past year. Organizations have started to take action when it comes to implementing processes around sustainability, and as a result we are beginning to see profit from these efforts.

According to the latest edition of an annual survey of global executives by the MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group corporate sustainability has become more embedded in business decisions and now defines company culture and corporate reputation. Significantly, the findings from the survey show:

  • Nearly 50% of companies have changed their business models as a result of sustainability opportunities - a 20% jump from last year
  • The portion of respondents reporting profit from sustainability went up 23%, to 37% in total
  • Two-thirds of respondents said that innovation advantage – identifying better solutions early – is the way to profit from sustainability
  • 61% of companies that have changed their business model and have sustainability as a permanent fixture on their management agenda say they have added profit for sustainability
  • Improved brand reputation was the number one benefit to organizations in addressing sustainability (40%)
  • 52% of organizations named customer preference for sustainable products as the number one reason that led to changes in their business model
  • 62% of the respondents report that their company’s CEO has a strong commitment to sustainability

While all of these findings are extremely important and telling on the state of corporate sustainability, there are a few points to highlight.

Organizations noted that the number one challenge in the next two years is innovating to achieve competitive differentiation. Identifying sustainability-driven innovation early will be critical to success. An innovation advantage was the most common response (67%) among organizations when asked where they see profit from sustainability.

Additionally, we expect the percentage of companies that have changed their business models as a result of sustainability to keep climbing. At Oracle, we understand the importance of ensuring there is an integrated approach to sustainability at the core of all business activities. Put simply, it is ineffective to treat sustainability as a separate functional area.

We are focused on delivering solutions that allow our customers to embed sustainability throughout their organizations and to achieve their sustainability initiatives so they too can be part of this exciting strategic opportunity.

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