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CEOs See Competitive Advantage In Solving Societal Challenges

On the heels of the UN adopting its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a recent survey finds CEOs see a new mandate to help solve societal challenges. In the UN Global Compact – Accenture Strategy Study, 87% of CEOs surveyed believe the SDGs provide an opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainable value creation.

The study, including more than 1000 CEOs, 100 + countries, and 25+ industries, reveals a new window of opportunity for sustainable development and competitive advantage. The SDGs present a unique opportunity for change and a roadmap for business to follow.

  • 89% of the leaders say commitment to sustainability is translating into real impact in their industry
  • 80% believe that demonstrating a commitment to societal purpose is a di­fferentiator in their industry.
  • 70% surveyed see the SDGs providing a clear framework to structure sustainability eff­orts, and
  • 49% believe that business will be the single most important actor in delivering on the SDGs.

Business leaders still need to measure and track the impact of sustainable initiatives on business success.  To this end:

  • 59% of CEOs report their company is able to accurately quantify the business value of their sustainability initiatives (an increase from 38% in 2013)
  • 73% believe that business should collaborate to develop common indicators to measure and communicate impact of the SDGs
  • 85% also see that essential cross-sector coalitions and partnerships will accelerate transformation.

There is an increasing focus on transparency due to speed of information going through digital media. Building public trust has become a priority issue for CEOs:

  • 81% say that digital technologies are radically increasing the transparency of product lifecycles and supply chains.
  • 79% say that brand, trust, and reputation drive them to act on sustainability
  • 55% see consumers as a key influencer (the highest of any stakeholder)

This study shows a new window of opportunity that the SDGs have opened.  And CEOs are committed to helping reshape the way we work and live.  You can learn more about this important study by visiting this site.

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