(Reuters) – A growing number of chief executives see sustainability as one of the biggest challenges to act on in the next two to three years, according to a new study published on Tuesday.
In a global survey of 3,000 CEOs from more than 40 countries and 28 industries, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), a think tank of the IBM technology group, revealed how sustainability had progressively moved to the center of corporate agendas. .
As the world recovers from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, companies are facing increasing pressure from stakeholders to prioritize how they will adapt as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy. .
The report showed sustainability topping the list of challenges for 51% of CEOs, up from 32% in 2021, with increased demand for action from board members and investors.
The focus was also being driven by a growing consensus that corporate efforts around sustainability can lead to stronger business performance.
“The perception that environmental and social agendas require compensation with better business results is crumbling,” IBV said.
Of CEOs surveyed, more than 80% expect investments in sustainability to deliver better business results in the next five years, the report showed.
Despite the increased focus, CEOs pointed to a number of obstacles, with 57% citing uncertainty around return on investment and financial benefits as the biggest challenge to achieving their sustainability goals.
Other challenges included poor data and regulatory barriers.
“Chief executives need to address the inherent difficulties that come with disrupting the status quo,” IBV said. “Finding the right roadmap is crucial.”
(Editing by Simon Jessop and Bernadette Baum)
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