Is spending up or down? What does the C-suite think? Who’s ‘world-class?’ More than 3,000 managers responded. Here is an early sample of what they said.
MIT Sloan Management Review’s second annual Sustainability & Innovation survey–exploring the
current and projected sustainability-related practices of organizations and executives–was fielded
during a year of bad public news for sustainability advocates. Between last year’s much-publicized delay
in reaching an international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen and the continuing economic
malaise, it was hard to predict how sustainability would fare as a management priority.
Would companies begin to scale back their efforts to adopt more efficient business practices and become
less focused on sustainability-related issues? Would they put existing programs on hold? What assessments would they make about the implications for managers of the changing sustainability landscape, and how were their strategic plans for competing in the future being affected by sustainability concerns?
This article is a first look at the results of the 2010 Sustainability & Innovation Executive Study–focusing especially on 12 top-line observations drawn from the survey data and separate in-depth executive interviews. The survey respondents included more than 3,107 managers and executives, representing every major industry and region of the world. This article offers answers to such questions as, Where does sustainability now fit on top management’s agenda? Do top-performing companies see things differently? Who drives the agenda within companies? What does the C-suite think? And how do top managers go about making sustainability-related investment decisions when tangible information for weighing costs and benefits is often lacking?