Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point

Findings from the 2011 Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Project

This year, most survey respondents say sustainability is on their companies’ management agendas to stay. What’s more, a substantial portion of respondents say their companies are profiting from sustainability activities.



  • The Sustainability Movement Nears a Tipping Point
  • Most Managers Believe a Sustainability Strategy is a Competitive Necessity
  • Embracers vs. Harvesters

Section I: Sustainability Is Firmly on Managers’ Agendas

  • Companies Are Upping Their Sustainability Commitments
  • Resource-Intensive Industries Lead the Way
  • External and Internal Drivers of Sustainable Business Practices

Section II: Ahead of the Game: The Leaders in Sustainability

  • Emerging Markets Have a Strong Commitment to Sustainability
  • Europe Seen as Sustainability Leader

Section III: A New Cohort: Harvesters Come into Focus

  • Harvesters Have Strong Organizational Support
  • Harvesters Link Sustainability and Performance

Section IV: Lessons from the Harvesters

  • Sustainable Practices Improve Collaboration

Conclusion: Looking Ahead

About the Research

  • Survey Questions and Responses



Knut Haanaes is a partner and managing director in the Geneva office of The Boston Consulting Group, as well as the head of BCG’s global sustainability practice.

Martin Reeves is a senior partner and managing director in the New York office of The Boston Consulting Group. He is also the global leader of BCG’s strategy institute.

Ingrid von Streng Velken is a project leader in the Oslo office of The Boston Consulting Group and the global manager for BCG’s sustainability practice.

Michael Audretsch is a consultant in the Oslo office of The Boston Consulting Group.

David Kiron is executive editor of MIT Sloan Management Review’s Innovation Hubs.

Nina Kruschwitz is MIT Sloan Management Review’s managing editor and special projects manager.


Martha E. Mangelsdorf, Editorial Director, MIT Sloan Management Review

Robert W. Holland, Jr., Managing Director, MIT Sloan Management Review

Stefan Wächter, Analyst, BCG

David Arthur, Consultant, BCG

Claire Love, Project Leader, BCG

Diederik Vismans, Project Leader, BCG

Eugene Goh, Principal, BCG

Sarah Murray, Writer

Elena Corrales, Analyst, BCG

Douglas Woods, Partner and Managing Director, BCG