Sustainability is critically important to 65 percent of businesses with climate change, plastics and changing consumer demands at the top of their agendas.
In a survey of more than 100 individuals across international market sectors including luxury, fashion and retail, food and beverage, and hotels, hospitality and leisure, respondents said they viewed sustainability as a significant driver of innovation. Conducted by Alliance law firm partner Bird & Bird’s Retail & Consumer team and its consultancy arm, OXYGY, the survey asked about the impact of sustainability on business priorities, innovation and leadership.
Among the findings, more than a third of respondents said that sustainability efforts increased in importance in the last year. “The question is, did Covid really make sustainability more important, or was it an accelerator of disruption that was already underway,” commented Graeme Payne, partner and global head of the firm’s international Retail & Consumer group.
Across respondents, 65 percent said that sustainability is critically important to their business strategies. The three external trends most affecting their companies are climate change and decarbonization; plastics and single-use packaging; and changing consumer demands for sustainable food and goods.
The survey also reported that both internal and external collaboration are key approaches driving the success of sustainability strategies. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said that ‘”finding innovative ways to collaborate externally (with competitors and partners)” is important or extremely important to achieving their sustainability strategies. Strong cross-functional alignment within the company is among the top three drivers for those who have made the most progress towards their sustainability goals.
According to Karen Friebe, partner and head of the firm’s Hotels, Hospitality & Leisure group, sustainability provides an ideal opportunity for innovation, “but it needs strong executive support behind it. Don’t allow it to be seen as merely an optional add-on.”
The complete report is available here. For more information on Bird & Bird, click here.