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Regulations are fueling the sustainability agenda, experts say

Legislation on sustainability, followed by disclosure standards, is viewed by experts as the most significant positive development in the last year, according to a GlobeScan/ERM survey.

Chart on legislation, disclosure standards driving sustainability agenda

Source: Alana Duval/GlobeScan

According to the newly released Sustainability Leaders 2024 Survey, one-third of sustainability experts point to legislative action as the most significant positive development related to the sustainability agenda in the last year. New sustainability disclosure standards, along with a range of actions on climate, nature, renewables and low-carbon initiatives, are also viewed as important recent developments. In addition, more green financing and public awareness are also seen by experts as key breakthroughs in the last year. 

New legislation and disclosure standards are recognized as important developments by experts across all sectors, but even more so among sustainability professionals in the for-profit sectors. Experts based in Africa and the Middle East are more likely to point to increased public awareness of sustainability as the most significant positive development.

The GlobeScan / ERM Sustainability Institute Leaders Survey captures the perspectives of almost 500 sustainability experts in 65 countries worldwide on the priorities and forces shaping the sustainable development agenda. The survey explores sustainability leadership across governments, nongovernmental organizations and companies and tracks priority issues as well as the most important recent developments.  

What does this mean?

For the second year in a row, legislative action is seen as the No. 1 driver of the sustainability agenda, followed by disclosure standards. However, leadership does not end with compliance alone — sustainability experts expect companies to integrate sustainability into the heart of their strategies and demonstrate real impacts and action to be seen as a leader. Read more on what’s expected from sustainability leaders in our Sustainability Leaders 2024 report. 

Survey Question: Over the past 12 months, what has been the most significant positive action or development related to the sustainability agenda? This action or development may have come from the public sector, civil society, business, finance and investment, or any other part of society.

Source: 2024 GlobeScan / ERM Sustainability Institute Leaders Survey of 484 experts representing business, government, NGOs, and academia across 65 countries from April to May.

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