Sustainability leaders at some of the wealthiest companies are increasingly influential. According to a Verdantix, 92 percent of companies that responded to a survey reported that they have a sustainability officer who reports directly to the CEO or a member of the executive committee.The Verdantix survey asked 260 senior sustainability decision-makers around the world about the influence of sustainability leaders on executive committees regarding decision-making authority and budgetary contributions in 21 key initiatives. These initiatives include assurance, consulting, energy management, natural capital, reporting, supply chain and other sustainability activities.
Here are some salient highlights in the report:
- CEOs increasingly recognize sustainability impacts financial performance: 28 percent of CEOs consider sustainability as factors that already impact quarterly and annual financial performance, compared to 21 percent in 2012.
- CSOs’ budgets for sustainability vary dramatically: 65 percent of CSOs own budgets of up to $2.5 million; 26 percent have budgets between $2.5 million and $15 million; 5 percent have over $15 million; and 4 percent have no budget at all.
- Firms favor spending on employees: 28 percent of sustainability budgets are invested on employees and 21 percent is spent on consulting services. Ten percent of budgets are spent on assurance providers.
- Improving environment, health and safety, energy and sustainability reporting are top priorities: more than 90 percent of respondents cite improvements in health and safety, energy and environmental management as “very important” or “important.”
- CSOs overwhelmingly publish sustainability reports but only half are third-party assured: eight out of 10 firms already publish sustainability reports but only 39 percent of firms pay for external assurance of their entire sustainability or integrated report.
Click here to see the report (Global Survey 2014: Sustainability Budgets And Priorities).