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Gartner finds investment in sustainability set to skyrocket

A recent Gartner survey has found that 87% of business leaders expect to increase their organisation’s sustainability investment over the next two years.

In the survey titled “2022 Sustainability Survey: Use Sustainability to Drive Value and Mitigate Disruption,” it was also found that customers are the primary stakeholder group creating pressure for organisations to invest or act on sustainability issues, selected by 80% of executives, followed by investors (60%) and regulators (55%).

The survey was conducted in June and July 2022 among 221 respondents in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Respondents were executives in director roles or above within organisations with enterprise-wide annual revenue of at least $250 million for the fiscal year 2021, which are currently engaged in sustainability-related activities.

It found that 86% of business leaders see sustainability as an investment that protects their organisation from disruption. 83% of leaders also said that sustainability program activities directly created both short- and long-term value for their organisation, and 80% indicated that sustainability helped their organisation optimise and reduce costs.

“Sustainability enables businesses to cope with disruption,” says Kristin Moyer, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. 

“Economic uncertainty, geopolitical conflict and escalating materials and energy costs are forcing businesses to reexamine all forms of expenditure. This focus on essentialism, in combination with increasing stakeholder desire to see progress on environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, creates new opportunities for enterprises to grow while mitigating cost and risk.”

Moyer also highlighted that when making the right decisions regarding sustainability processes, organisations are put in a better position to achieve business success and growth.

“Executive leaders are achieving both operational and supply chain savings through their sustainability programs,” she says.

“This kind of ‘two for one,’ where sustainability investment supports a business goal like cost optimisation, significantly enhances the program’s impact by creating a virtuous cycle.”

57% of business leaders in the study said the enterprise sustainability program has a solid connection to the results on the income statement, and 42% are leveraging their sustainability activities to drive innovation, differentiation and enterprise growth through sustainable products.

“Investing in sustainability can support product differentiation but be wary of greenwashing risks – there are no shortcuts to sustainable growth,” said Moyer. 

“Focus on product attributes that are important to customers and how these priorities shape buying decisions. When viewed through a strategic lens, sustainability can provide a ray of sunshine for businesses during difficult market conditions.”

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