Sustainability plans top of the agenda for APAC chief executives – UN and Accenture

APAC’s top chief executives embrace sustainability strategies more than their global peers, with the majority optimistic that it could transform their business.

A joint study by United Nations Global Compact and Accenture highlighted a difference in attitudes between Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

The study of 1,000 business leaders found that 76% of top executives in the region expect sustainability to transform their industry within five years compared with a global average of 63%.

While 52% of APAC chief executives felt that sustainability strategy would be “very important” to their future success, only 45% globally and a smaller 32% in Europe felt the same.

In addition, 78% of chief executives in the region said there was an increase in activity around sustainability, with many implementing strategies into their core business, up from five years ago.

However the report said: “It is clear from our conversations that in many [APAC] companies, sustainability may not yet have made the transition from a philanthropic concept towards an approach embedded in companies, industries and markets.

“Our interviews suggest that many companies remain motivated by an agenda of compliance or business ethics, rather than fully integrated into corporate and business strategy; at root, sustainability is often seen as a ‘licence to operate,’ with the health and prosperity of local communities the primary factor as companies look to build a social contract that ensures longevity and stability.”