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Sustainability strategies provide real benefits to most firms: KPMG
January, 21st 2011

A survey commissioned by KPMG of 378 large and medium-sized companies from 61 countries reports 62 percent already have an active sustainability program in place, and 11 percent are currently developing one. Further it shows that pressure from regulators and a rising concern over the potential for brand and reputational damage were early motivating factors at first.

However, once the practical benefits were realized these companies reported a rising support for sustainability on operational and commercial grounds.

Overall, 61 percent found despite some increase in investment, the benefits clearly outweighed the drawbacks.  This number rose to 72 percent among the very largest companies that had revenues above US$5 billion.
These companies want to see a continuation of these initiatives as well.

Case in point. Two thirds of respondents said a successor to the Kyoto Protocol is very important and a majority of those actively involved in lobbying their governments over climate change said that they are pressing for tougher regulation, preferably on an international basis.

However, given that 46 percent thought a global climate accord would add to their regulatory burden, and 41 percent said it would add to their operating costs it would seem that most companies would want just the opposite.   But for many companies it is not the fact of regulation that is a problem, it is the uncertainty of not knowing what regulation may appear in future.

Ted Senko, KPMGs Global Head of Climate Change and Sustainability and a partner in the US firm clarifies.

Companies believe that more regulation on carbon will come, and they want it sooner rather than later so that they can adapt and comply, he said. The clear message from business to governments and officials at COP16 is Give us a solid regulatory framework for sustainable business growth, and we will deliver it.


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