It’s one of the biggest debates in corporate governance: Does it pay for companies to consider sustainability issues, such as climate change and health risks?
A recent survey of international executives (half from the C-suite) reveals that do-gooder companies—those that promote social, environmental and ethical practices—far outperform those that do not.
Do-gooder companies surveyed saw profits rise 16% in 2007. As for companies that rated their own sustainability practices poorly? Only 7% of those companies saw profit growth.
Meanwhile, 53% of executives surveyed say their companies already have sustainability strategies, and another quarter say they plan to develop one.
While the survey doesn’t prove that it always pays to be good, it does negate the idea that adopting corporate social responsibility practices makes you uncompetitive.
—Adapted from Economist Intelligence Unit, “Doing Good: Business and the Sustainability Challenge,” www.eiu.com.