A new survey today says 40% of executives believe that their firms' sustainability initiatives are 'excellent' or 'very good.' Out of 178 executives that were surveyed, more than half iterated that these initiatives have led to operational efficiencies. Sound good so far? That is where it ends. Because the survey does not take into account independent review of these initiatives or how much of the reporting is done purely to build reputation.
The survey conducted by Crowe Horvath and Miami University's Center for Business Excellence (CBE), also measured that only 12% of the respondents believed sustainability was embedded in their company's strategic direction and long term plan. So how much of this is pure marketing? Quite a bit of it, agrees CBE co-director Dan Heitger, who is quoted as saying, "Reporting sustainability measures and issuing qualitative disclosures without a sufficient link to how these activities lead to long-term value creates a risk of efforts being perceived as 'greenwashing'", adding that many companies focused on green marketing and not necessarily on involving green practices in their strategy and environmental policies.
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