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Corporate sustainability strategy success

Wednesday 20th April 2011
Companies which have implemented corporate sustainability strategies have enjoyed a broad range of important benefits, according to KPMG.

It also found that finance and cost were the biggest challenges companies faced when implementing sustainable practices.

Vincent Neate, European Head of Climate Change and Sustainability at KPMG, said: "While most of the companies we spoke to implemented sustainability strategies for brand reputation enhancement and compliance reasons, those companies have also benefited from increased profitability; new and better quality products and services and improved employee morale.

"It is certainly positive to see that all of the UK respondents - and the majority of the 400 global companies we spoke to - either have a sustainability plan in place or are in the process of developing one but there are still barriers to progress.

"Short term finance issues and cost are the two major problems companies face in the current economic climate and a lack of measurability via benchmarking means it is still difficult for companies to show how their sustainable initiatives affect the bottom line."

Key findings:

* At nearly 40%, the main business driver for implementing sustainability practices is brand reputation enhancement (regulatory compliance is the second biggest factor);

* The biggest benefits of sustainability strategies are – in first place at 32% - attracting and retaining customers; in second place at 31.5% - increased profitability and in third place (at 25%) better quality products or services;

* The largest barrier to further progress in achieving sustainability goals is different short-term financial priorities (such as business survival) at nearly 40%, followed by risk of raising costs compared with competitors (at 36%);

* Measurability is a major challenge with 76% of companies specifying the lack of meaningful benchmarks.

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Mike Jones

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