Business Leaders Still Struggle to Integrate Sustainability into MIssion

Business Leaders Still Struggle to Integrate Sustainability into MIssion

Suit and tie image via Shutterstock.

The shine hasn't worn off sustainability for business leaders, many of whom believe the issue will continue moving up the corporate agenda over the next five years, a new survey from BSR shows.

But integrating sustainability into core business functions continues to be a perennial challenge for business leaders. And despite the recent upsurge in shareholders activism we've seen over the past few years, a significant minority of business leaders -- 30 percent -- said they are still struggling with persuading investors that sustainability really does improve company value.

These are among the findings of the latest BSR-GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2011, unveiled today at the annual BSR Conference in San Francisco. The poll surveyed nearly 500 business people within BSR's global network.

Among the findings: 

• 84 percent on respondents expressed optimism that worldwide companies would adopt sustainability within their core business strategies and functions in the next five years.

• Sustainability integration, however, is cited as the biggest challenge for 62 percent of respondents. Other hurdles: long-term planning and bringing investors on board (30 percent each).

• The most important driver of business success, according to 70 percent of those polled: "creating innovative products and business models designed for sustainability."

• Acknowledging the public's lack of faith in the business community, 55 percent of respondents said the best antidote is to increase transparency of business practices.

• More business leaders named human rights and water availability/quality as CSR priorities in 2011.

We'll have more from this year's BSR conference, including my report from Al Gore's keynote speech this morning.

Suit and tie image via Shutterstock.