Arthur D. Little’s report examines key challenges to effective corporate sustainability

  • While 72% of companies maintain sustainability collaboration with existing partners, an increasing number of organizations are now collaborating with universities/R&D groups (12%) and downstream supply chain partners/ end customers (16%).
  • Embracing sustainability within an organization can deliver both top-line and bottom-line benefits, leading to higher returns for shareholders

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Arthur D. Little (ADL), the world’s leading management consulting firm, today released an exclusive report exploring the state of sustainability and the challenges of adoption. With insights from Professor Tima Bansal of the Ivey Business School, the report, titled Overcoming sustainability challenges, is based on a global survey conducted by ADL that identifies the dynamic variables that shape corporate sustainability around the world, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Despite understanding the benefits, the survey shows that a fifth of companies (20%) still do not have a sustainability strategy in place and less than 30% believe the impact of this strategy is clear to all the employees. This failure to take meaningful action and embed sustainability at the center of organizations not only causes potential environmental and social damage; it also hinders business performance.

Sustainability is a top priority for most business leaders, resulting in a steady stream of announcements around specific commitments and goals. Yet there is a clear gap between talk and action. Additionally, sustainability commitments do not seem to have the same urgency or rigor as other business goals. Of the companies participating in the survey, 67% do not link management incentives to sustainability performance and only 33% have structured plans, roadmaps and milestones to achieve their goals. These results demonstrate that companies are struggling to integrate sustainability into their operations.

Carlo Stella, Partner at Arthur D. Little Middle East said: “For businesses around the world, becoming sustainable is a major transformational process spanning culture, planning, measurement, governance, reporting and mindset. Our latest report uncovers the challenges organizations face sustainability and identifies initiatives to transform these organizations into sustainable businesses with better shareholder returns.”

The report analyzes the current state of sustainability and sets out key recommendations for unlocking the benefits of sustainability by taking an ecosystem approach, integrating sustainability reporting, redefining culture and focusing on innovation.

The report also highlights six key challenges facing global businesses for effective business sustainability. Among the benefits sustainability leaders have experienced recently include faster growth, reduced cost of debt financing, reduced employee turnover, and increased resilience to business risks and market challenges, as well as improvement of the company’s reputation and brand image.

Explore Arthur D. Little’s transformative approach to achieving sustainability in more detail here.

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