InPrint: Corporate Sustainability at a Crossroads: Progress Towards our Common Future in Uncertain Times

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In collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), MITSloan Management Review shares this research report based on summary findings from the sustainability global executive studies 2009-2016.

As corporate sustainability pundits, the writers disclose that despite worldwide progress in corporate sustainability, it has hit a crossroads – on one hand, corporate leaders in sustainability remain a minority and are unevenly distributed across geographies and industries. On the other hand, the natural environmental continues to change as a result of human activities.

Segmented into eight lessons, the report presents the results of the research, based on the survey conducted across regions.

With case studies reflecting uneven sustainability progress across industries, regions, and organisational sizes, lesson one proposes that organisations need to set their sustainability vision and ambition. Cases of organisations that have added value from their sustainability activities, initiated the need to focus on material issues and reporting. Furthermore, companies are advised to set up the right innovative organisation in order to achieve ambition, considering the number of companies who have made profits from innovative sustainability activities. Moreover, lesson four emphasises on exploring business model innovation opportunities.

The low number of companies with clear business cases for sustainability efforts ignited the fifth lesson on developing a clear business case for sustainability whilst the sixth underscores the need to get board of directors on board in addition to stakeholder engagement.

The last two lessons focus on developing a compelling value-creation story for investors and collaborating various stakeholders for a strategic change.

Apart from the expertise of the writers and the size of survey sample utilised, employing case studies and experiences of various industries across regions positions the report as authoritative; a desideratum for this uncertain time.

Besides, the report creates a horripilatory effect with attention drawn to 2017; the 30th anniversary of “Our Common Future” – the Bruntland Report. Unfortunately, the vision has not been achieved three decades after.

Publisher: MITSloan Management Review

Date of Publication: May 2017

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