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Global Survey 2014: Sustainability Budgets And Priorities

Date: 11 November 2014

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25 pages, 14 Figures 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report helps Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs), Heads of Sustainability and EH&S Directors to understand sustainability strategies, governance approaches, budget allocations, spending trends and priorities in large firms worldwide. Verdantix interviewed senior sustainability decision-makers and budget-holders from 260 firms with revenues from $250 million to over $20 billion. The sustainability leaders were from 13 territories: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, South Africa, the UK, and the USA. Respondents’ firms spanned 21 industries covering business and financial services, consumer services, energy and basic resources, manufacturing, and retail and consumer products. We found that sustainability leaders have increasing influence, decision-making authority and budgetary control across 21 initiatives spanning assurance, consulting, energy management, natural capital, reporting, supply chain and other sustainability activities. Verdantix also found that while few sustainability leaders point to large budget increases, our results reveal corporate-wide sustainability spending is typically up to 10 times bigger than the sustainability function budget with over two-thirds of respondents expecting spending growth.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

GLOBAL SURVEY 2014: SUSTAINABILITY BUDGETS AND PRIORITIES

CEOs Increasingly Recognize Sustainability Impacts Financial Performance

SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS HAVE GROWING INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY

Governance Of Sustainability Reveals Growing Influence On Executive Committee Members
Sustainability Leaders Gain Increasing Influence Over Decisions

BUDGETS AND BUDGETARY CONTROL VARY IN SIZE AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Sustainability Leaders’ Budgets For Sustainability Vary Dramatically
Very Few Sustainability Leaders Have Full Budgetary Control
Sustainability Budgets And Spend Trend Upwards Or Remain Constant
Firms Spend Over Half Their Budget On Consultants, Implementation And Service Partners

IMPROVING EH&S, ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING ARE THE TOP PRIORITIES

Priority Improvements Are Health and Safety, Energy and Environmental Management
Most Firms Publish Sustainability Reports But Only Half Are Third-Party Assured


TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Geographic Location of Survey Respondents
Figure 2. Industry Categories of Firms Surveyed
Figure 3. Comparison Of CEO Perspectives On Sustainability 2012 vs 2014
Figure 4. Sustainability Management Organizational Elements
Figure 5. Sustainability Leaders’ Decision-Making Authority
Figure 6. 
Variety In Sustainability Budget Sizes
Figure 7. Sustainability Leaders’ Budgetary Control
Figure 8. Corporate-Wide Spend Relative To Sustainability Function Budget
Figure 9. Expected Sustainability Function Budget Change In The Next Year
Figure 10. Expected Sustainability Initiative Budget Change In The Next Year
Figure 11. Expected Corporate-Wide Sustainability Spend Change In The Next Year
Figure 12. Breakdown of Total Corporate-Wide Sustainability Spend
Figure 13. Sustainability Activities’ Importance For Performance Improvement
Figure 14. Sustainability Reporting Priorities This Financial Year and Next Financial Year
 

ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED

3E Company, Actio, AFNOR, Apple, Assent Compliance, Bureau Veritas, CH2M Hill, CRedit360, Deloitte, DNV GL, Dow Jones & Company, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Ecodesk, EcoVadis, ERM, ERM Certification & Verification Services, EY, Foresite Systems, FTSE, GreenSoft Technology, GRI, H&M, Hitachi Consulting, ICF International, IIRC, Intelex, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), KPMG, Lockheed Martin, MetricStream, Microsoft, National Center For Public Policy Research, PG&E, ProcessMap, PwC, Schneider Electric, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Total Parts Plus, UL The Wercs