KPMG and CIES find sustainability seen as driver rather than cost

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KPMG and the World Food Business Forum (CIES) asked the world's major retailers and manufacturers where sustainability is going now

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Brand Central

9 October 2008

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From a survey jointly conducted by KPMG and the World Food Business Forum (CIES), it was found that many leading retailers and manufacturers see sustainability as a driver of innovation that can help build growth and profitability, rather than a cost. Nearly half of those questioned (47.7%) felt sustainability was an important driver of innovation, and 33.6% identified new product development in existing markets as the most important growth area. A majority (56.5%) stated that sustainability was now a core element of business strategy.

Those companies most positive about the impact of sustainability on their bottom line appear also the most concerned about their human capital (39%), according to the survey. The link is significant given the majority of organizations surveyed regard recruitment and retention as top of the list of challenges to their growth (30.6%), ahead even of a slowdown in consumer demand (29.7%) and increased costs of raw materials (27%).

However, some negative trends were identified also. The research reveals that a surprising number of companies (15.5%) are still without any sort of sustainability strategy, with businesses in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) being the worst offenders (18.6%). Also, just over half (52.8%) believe that sustainability investment will either be put on hold or reduced in an economic downturn, spelling further bad news for sustainability initiatives on the global stage.

 

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