1. How have perceptions about sustainability changed?

According to executives, sustainability is becoming a more strategic
and integral part of their businesses. In past surveys, when asked
about their companies’ reasons for pursuing sustainability,
respondents most often cited cost cutting or reputation management.
Now 43 percent (and the largest share) say their companies seek to
align sustainability with their overall business goals, mission, or
values2 —up from 30 percent who said so in 2012. One reason for the
shift may be that company leaders themselves believe the issue is
more important. CEOs are twice as likely as they were in 2012 to say
sustainability is their top priority. Larger shares of all other executives
also count sustainability as a top three item on their CEOs’ agendas.
2. What do executives see as sustainability’s main drivers of value?
For leading companies, many CEOs told us that the urgency of global
challenges provides an opportunity to differentiate their products and
services; to access new market segments; and to grow into new
regions, countries and areas where their products can meet a pressing
Sustainability also provides the opportunity to innovate and utilize
technology to achieve efficiencies and reduced costs.

Communicating company’s sustainability activities to consumers
Changing core business practices to strengthen or improve
Building and maintaining external stakeholder relationships
Implementing policies on ethical issues or business practices
External reporting of and transparencies on activities
Economic investments in communities where companies operate
Company leaders shape external debate around environmental,
social or economic issues
Employee volunteering
Broader societal investments

3. What do they see as the shortcomings and risks of current approaches
to sustainability?
CEOs are struggling to quantify and capture the business value of
sustainability. Due to current economic conditions many business
leaders are focusing more on growth and profitability than
sustainability, particularly because it is difficult to quantify the
business value of sustainability as a strategy. Business, CEOs believe,
is not leading on sustainability in theway that was predicted three
years ago. The challenge is to not just measure and manage metrics of

and to track their impact on the communities in which they operate.reduction and mitigation. . Lack of board engagement. but also to quantify the value of sustainability initiatives and more sustainable business models to the company.