Recognizing our mission-critical role in identifying leaders who can align business interests with protecting the planet, we undertook a monthly LinkedIn poll to take the pulse on sustainability imperatives. Find the results and key takeaways in our Global Sustainability Snapshot. 

Sustainability is the greatest challenge uniting business and political leaders. The United Nations is driving cohesive change through 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). In the business context, these are captured in four pillars covering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) imperatives, which must be intrinsically linked to deliver meaningful results. Most recently, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, a not-for-profit international organization based in the United States, announced a new standard-setting International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to drive high quality, transparent, reliable, and comparable reporting by companies on climate and other ESG matters. These imperatives dominate the corporate and board agendas, with business leaders across all industries making public stands towards more sustainable business practices linked to social outcomes.

At Boyden we recognize our mission-critical role in identifying leaders who can align business interests with protecting the planet. “Maintaining the dialogue is vital and we are leveraging various channels to understand organizational ‘readiness,’ and inform and enrich our work supporting clients to develop and reach ESG goals,” states Francesca d'Arcangeli, Global Leader, Boyden Industrial Practice. Through LinkedIn, we undertook a monthly poll among our global network to take the pulse on sustainability imperatives, revealing current approaches, priorities, and which of the ESG pillars is the most discussed. “The results not only provide a ‘current state’ snapshot, but the polling itself is helping to drive this discussion forward in a new way.” 

Global Sustainability Poll: The Results

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Global Sustainability Poll: The Takeaways

Enlightened business leaders see sustainability as a major opportunity. For many, it is driving strategy, innovation and social purpose. For others, shifting the mindset is the primary challenge, from the board to the shop floor.

> Is sustainability a top priority? Just over half, 55%, have sustainability as a top 3 priority on the corporate agenda.

> Measuring and monitoring performance is evolving, but not yet aligned: 58% of organizations measure and have targets for sustainability efforts or performance.

> Recycling and waste are on the radar: The dominant group, 28%, is ‘creating a circular economy’ to extend product life cycles and reduce waste to a minimum.

> Gaps in supply chain integration: less than half, 43%, engage their supply chain, requiring metrics or goals in sustainability.

> ESG focus is people and social responsibility: The four pillars are environment (the planet); people & social responsibility; principles of governance; and prosperity (economic welfare).

The pandemic made leaders ‘more human,’ reinforcing the importance of the social experience and wider benefits of work. Achieving ESG goals involves connecting people and purpose through business strategy and operational best practice, as leaders and their teams strive to create a more sustainable future for us all. The signs are encouraging. The majority of respondents in our poll have sustainability as a top priority and are measuring and monitoring performance. Over a quarter are creating a circular economy and well over a third are engaging their supply chain requiring metrics in sustainability. People and social responsibility dominate the discussion, creating a virtuous circle and connecting all elements to the higher intent of global sustainability. However, more deliberate leadership is needed, with specific roles or departments charged with driving the agenda, fully accountable, and properly rewarded.

Boyden continues to work with clients in helping them to structure their approach, develop pipelines and capabilities and find the right leaders in this evolving landscape. Find more resources on the topic of sustainability from Boyden's Global Industrial Practice here.

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