CEOs identify trust as the key driver for sustainability action

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Courtesy of Vital Efficienci Ltd.

CEOs say the downturn has elevated the role of sustainability in building trust, according New Global Compact research. Although Sustainability has become top of mind of CEOs around the world, CEOs appear to misunderstand levels of trust in their companies and industries, and need to think much more systematically and strategically about building, or rebuilding, trust.

This was found on a survey done to 766 CEOs across the globe in more than 100 countries and 25 industries, and 100 in-depth interviews about trust and sustainability to global leaders by Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact. In the last Global Compact survey in 2007, sustainability was just emerging on the periphery of business issues, and becoming and increasing concern that was beginning to reshape the rules of competition. Three years later, sustainability is truly top of-mind for CEOs around the world.

One of the main findings is that CEOs identify trust and reputation as the key driver of their action on sustainability, with 72% of them saying that trust, brand and reputation have driven them to take action on sustainability. That's well ahead of the 44% who were driven by the potential for revenue growth or a reduction in costs, and only 42% who were driven by personal motivation. Interestingly, the economic crisis has had a major impact, with 83% of CEOs saying that the downturn has elevated the role of sustainability in building trust.

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