A Third of Businesses Globally Still Yet to Implement Sustainability Plans, Finds KPMG ReportBy Kpmg International Cooperative, PRNE
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Measurement, Finance and Inconsistent Regulation Still Obstacles to Progress of Sustainability
TORONTO, April 18, 2011 - There is widespread and growing acceptance of the increasing value that
sustainability programs have in the private sector today, yet over 30 percent
of businesses do not have a strategy for sustainable growth in place,
according to a survey from KPMG's global Climate Change and Sustainability
Just over 60 percent of companies surveyed said that they currently have
a working strategy for corporate sustainability - up from just over half
polled in a similar survey in 2008. Of those that do not have a strategy,
over 70 percent expect to do so within one to five years and 25 percent
indicated they had no specific timeframe. Yet, nearly 50 percent of all
executives surveyed believe that implementing sustainability programs will
contribute to the bottom line, either by cost reduction or increased
These figures come from Corporate Sustainability: a progress report, a
survey of 378 senior executives representing a range of industries evenly
split between the US and Canada, Asia Pacific and Europe, with contributions
from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
The survey captured three main reasons for slow progress on
- A lack of common set metrics and tools - and information systems- for
measurement and analysis of the impact of sustainability programs
- A lack of available financing that will put sustainability on par with
operational programs that have a higher short-term return on investment (ROI)
- A lack of a clear and rigorous international framework of regulation
within which companies can plan with confidence.
Larger, publicly listed companies are much more likely to have adopted a
strategy than their smaller, privately held counterparts. Nearly 8 in 10 of
the large companies polled have a strategy, compared with just under half of
the smaller businesses.
Of those that do have strategies in place, only one in three have issued
a public report on their progress.
"We are finding that most companies understand what they need to do
strategically," said Ted Senko, global head of Climate Change and
Sustainability (CC&S) at KPMG and a partner in the US firm, "but they need
help in building the strategic models and information systems to establish
how effective they really are at reducing carbon, benchmarking their plans
against the standards of their competitors, and optimizing their businesses
to manage the challenges of a changing regulatory environment.
"A business sustainability strategy based on good measurement and
analysis is very important in order to assess the financial payback when
regulations on emissions and energy use could increase."
Two-thirds of those polled believe that a new set of rules is either very
important or critical, and there is widespread support for tougher
international regulations if these would reduce the complexity and cost of
complying with widely differing national and state rules.
Yvo de Boer, Special Global Adviser for KPMG's Climate Change and
Sustainability practice and the former Executive Secretary of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change asserts that the upcoming
climate change talks in Durban, South Africa later this year must result
in approvals that will enable the creation of new market-based methods to
help businesses meet sustainability targets.
"We must work to empower the private sector to make an impact on
sustainability goals, but to do so, requires leadership in the private
sector, and strong support from governments. This is vital if we are to
mobilize the very large private financial flows necessary to bring climate
goals within reach," Mr. de Boer said.
Nevertheless, most large, public companies are pressing ahead with
developing their own solutions.
On the issue of financing sustainability initiatives, the survey revealed
some innovative new methods, where energy producers, for example, are using
financing methods to promote efficiency, and bundling up projects with longer
and shorter payback cycles into a basket of investments that will meet the
firm's payback requirements.
As the report cites, in task forces within the Global Reporting
Initiative (GRI) and the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC),
progressive companies are already at work developing common standards for
measurement and benchmarking and technology exchange.
"These are excellent examples of the progressive thinking that delivers
the real value of a sustainability initiative within the entirety of a
company's activities," Mr. Senko said. "But again, it needs good quality
information and analysis, and clear government commitment before businesses
can broadly make these commitments with confidence. "
Note to editors:
Corporate Sustainability: a progress report is a KPMG research paper,
conducted in co-operation with the Economist Intelligence Unit.
A full copy of the report is available here:
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this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)
KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and
Advisory services. We operate in 150 countries and have 138,000 people
working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the
KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG
International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and
separate entity and describes itself as such.
 The 17th Conference of Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Durban, South Africa,
November 28 - December 9, 2011.
For further information, contact: Jennifer Samuel KPMG International +1-416-451-8185 firstname.lastname@example.org
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