Corporate Marketers Foresee Greater Investments in Sustainability

by | Apr 10, 2009

fh-chartNearly 60 percent of corporate marketers expect their companies to increase environmental sustainability initiatives over the next two to three years, according to a survey conducted by the American Marketing Association and Fleishman-Hillard, Inc. Half of the respondents also believe that current economic conditions will encourage the adoption of sustainability practices.

Not surprisingly, more than half of those surveyed believe that sustainability is crucial to their company’s reputation. Nearly three-quarters believe that corporate reputation, corporate culture and technological advancements will be the drivers for sustainability. The Obama administration’s policies also will drive the adoption of corporate sustainability programs, according to 63 percent of respondents.

The survey also reveals that how companies chose to communicate their sustainability commitment is mixed. About 43 percent of the respondents predict their companies to increase marketing of their sustainability programs, although more than half of those surveyed do not expect to increase their marketing of sustainability programs.

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A recent survey conducted by Booz & Co. tells another story, indicating that the economic recession is postponing some sustainability-related corporate spending.

Similarly, key findings of a United Nations corporate responsibility survey indicates the there are implementation gaps in adopting responsible business practices, particularly in the areas of supply chain management and subsidiary engagement. The UN survey includes more than 700 Global Compact business participants in 90 countries.

The survey reveals deficits in engaging corporate supply chains: Only seven percent of respondents currently require suppliers to join the Global Compact, while 27 percent reference the initiative in supplier contracts. In addition, only 30 percent of companies with subsidiaries require them to implement the Global Compact and its principles and assess progress made.

Yet, the survey shows that more companies are now disclosing their practices under the Global Compact’s mandatory disclosure framework, also known as the Communication on Progress (COP). More than 1700 COPs were submitted in 2009, a 25 percent increase over 2007. But more than 400 business participants were delisted in 2008 for repeated failure to communicate progress.

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