About the Research

This is part 7 of 8 from “Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point,” a report on the findings of the 2011 Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Project.

For the third year, MIT Sloan Management Review, in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group, conducted a global survey, to which more than 4,000 executives and managers responded. The analysis in this report is based on a smaller subsample of 2,874 respondents from commercial enterprises, with respondents from academic, governmental and nonprofit organizations excluded. The respondents’ organizations are located around the world; more than 40% do business in at least three regions, led by Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand. A wide variety of industries are represented. The sample was drawn from a number of sources, including MIT alumni, MIT Sloan Management Review subscribers, BCG clients and other interested parties.

In addition to these survey results, we interviewed academic experts and subject matter experts from a number of industries and disciplines to understand the practical issues facing organizations today. Their insights contributed to a richer understanding of the data and provided examples and case studies to illustrate our findings.

As a matter of terminology, we used “sustainability” to cover environmental, economic and societal topics. Respondents had a similar view. We asked respondents “What factors does your organization consider as part of sustainability?” and asked them to choose all that applied from a list of options. A clear majority selected economic sustainability (62.1%). Environmental and corporate social responsibility issues, increased emphasis on long-term perspective and employee health and well-being were in the next tier.

Early findings from this research were published in the Winter 2012 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.

The complete survey, with questions and responses, is available as six-page pdf.

An interactive version of the data is also available. You can create customized charts and see how your industry compares.