Sustainability has become a critical objective for most companies, increasingly influencing their overall business strategy, culture, and ways of working. Still, many organizations face significant challenges in achieving their sustainability goals.
Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by Brightline, surveyed over 500 executives worldwide to understand what distinguishes leading companies driving sustainability efforts. According to the research, there are a few key steps companies can take to becoming a sustainability leader:
- Do it because it is the right thing to do
- Drive sustainability through empowered executive leadership
- Emphasize culture and employee engagement
- Engage the entire business ecosystem
Download this 20-page report to learn more.
- Challenges of Implementing Sustainability Efforts
- Driving Sustainability Strategies
- A Broad Scope of Benefits
- A Multifaceted Approach to Success
- The Importance of Transparent Communication
- Upskilling Talent a Critical Step
- Keys to Success
Awareness and acknowledgment of the importance of sustainability have gradually risen over recent decades. Major environmental issues such as pollution, deforestation, and climate change have shifted priorities for many organizations that have come to realize their social responsibility. Sustainability has evolved from a concern expressed by individuals and groups into a central aspect of many corporate strategies. This evolution has led to international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 and the Paris Agreement reached in 2015, as well as to global calls for action.
The advancement of renewable energy technology, energy efficiency, and sustainable materials has made efforts to protect the environment easier and more cost-effective. Sustainable practices have been implemented in global supply chains, new factory production sites, and urban planning.
The recent rapid progress in artificial intelligence presents new hope for the much-needed innovation and acceleration in addressing environmental issues, whether in biodiversity, predicting natural disasters, or combating climate change. As John Kerry noted ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021, “50% of the carbon reductions needed to get to net zero will come from technologies that have not yet been invented.” Despite these positive developments in capabilities to address sustainability issues, many organizations still face difficulties in successfully implementing their sustainability strategies.
We at Project Management Institute actively monitor the technological trends, disruption, and complexities of globalization reshaping the world. Our Brightline® initiative team is dedicated to helping executives bridge the gap between strategy design and execution. Together with leading global organizations, Brightline delivers insights and solutions that empower leaders to successfully transform their organization’s vision into reality through strategic initiative management.
This report, developed by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Brightline, explores the topic of sustainability and what distinguishes leaders in the field from others. One notable difference for leaders is the set of key drivers they use for their sustainability strategies. Leaders are more motivated by the belief that pursuing sustainability “is the right thing to do.” This belief, paired with knowledge, passion, and a clear mandate for a C-suite level overseer of sustainability strategy, can make a significant difference. Authenticity and transparency are needed in addressing environmental issues in the long term.
The research also reveals that organizations are more likely to achieve sustainability goals and objectives when sustainable principles are part of decision-making processes across various functional groups. This commitment often requires organizational upskilling and change to implement new procedures that align with best practices.
This report aims to help executives and their teams advance their organizations by implementing responsible sustainability strategies that positively impact our world.
Pierre Le Manh
President and CEO
Project Management Institute
Published on 30 January 2024