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How companies capture the value of sustainability: Survey findings


What makes the difference between a sustainability program that produces business value and one that doesn’t? A new survey identifies practices that distinguish value-creating companies from others.

Amid widening recognition of how environmental issues such as climate change create business opportunities and risks, results from a McKinsey Global Survey 1 show that companies that generate value from their sustainability programs follow a distinctive set of management practices. Survey respondents say these companies are more likely than others to make sustainability a strategic priority and to set out specific aspirations and targets. Responses also suggest that value-creating companies are more likely than others to make sustainability an element of their corporate culture and train employees on how to integrate sustainability into their work.

Survey results indicate that value-creating companies are more apt to engage customers and business partners in their sustainability agendas. Compared with those at other companies, more respondents from value-creating companies say they collaborate with customers and suppliers on addressing sustainability issues, adjust product portfolios to be more sustainable, and account for sustainability factors when selecting and evaluating suppliers. Respondents from value creators are also more likely than others to report that sustainability issues inform how their company manages its facilities and its transportation networks.

The survey results highlight practices more widely followed by companies that are creating value from sustainability than by companies that aren’t. Experience also suggests that companies with effective sustainability programs tend to plan and manage these programs with the same discipline and commitment that they apply to other business initiatives.

This article was originally published on the McKinsey & Company’s website.

Date: May 6, 2021

Author: Anna Granskog; Eric Hannon; Solveigh Hieronimus; Marie Klaeyle; Angela Winkle

Tags: ESG Strategy, McKinsey

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