European corporations put sustainability at the core of business strategy

New study and trends report outlines the real impact of climate change on business leaders
Feb 22, 2010 12:30 PM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) Germany - February 22, 2010 - 81 % of European CEOs are focusing their sustainability efforts to combat shortages in raw materials such as oil and water according to a new study and trends forecast released by management consulting firm brands & values.  

The report, called Sustainovation, is the first of its kind as a cross-industry survey among the CEOs of 1200 listed companies in 14 West European countries. Some 86% percent of the CEOs interviewed agreed that the environmental and social challenges have a significant influence on their business strategy while 90% perceive the global threats as a challenge for their companies over the long term.   In the face of the worldwide financial crisis and higher prices for raw materials, companies have been concerned with measures to improve operating efficiencies. "When companies increase their efficiency, they kill two birds with one stone," said Martin Blumberg, managing partner of brands & values; "They reduce their own costs and improve their climate balance sheet at the same time."   The study goes further to identify 4 key trends in business and sustainability which are driving business forward and guiding the direction of Europe’s top CEOs. They are: 
  1. Environmental technology innovation

  2. Bottom of pyramid innovation

  3. Cradle to cradle innovation

  4. Catalytic innovations

"For many companies, sustainability drives innovation," says Martin Blumberg, "However, up until now only a few companies have opened up new sales markets through sustainable innovation strategies or have attempted to win over customers in the consumer groups concerned with sustainability. But as we seem be coming to the end of the financial crisis the awareness of business opportunities brought by sustainable innovation is growing among the responsible parties.”   The research shows that most companies concentrate primarily on their own value chain, particularly in procurement policies, waste management and logistics, when putting sustainability strategies in place. A significant majority of those surveyed is well aware of the growing effect sustainable consumerism has on their own sustainability agenda and yet only half of them encourage customers to handle resources with care. Of those companies that promote conservation, some develop and market products that allow consumers to satisfy their needs while pursuing a lifestyle of responsible consumerism. [Fig. 2]   Presenting a total of seven fully fleshed-out case studies by among others Deutsche Bank, P&G, Vodafone and Henkel the study shows convincingly how companies in different industries successfully position themselves with innovative products and business models in the marketplace.     “Sustainovation” is a pan-European research study that shows that businesses see social and environmental challenges as drivers of innovative products and business models. It presents seven inspiring best-practice examples – including the 100 page document itself which is produced with absolutely no emissions, printed with ecological inks and issued on innovative 100% recyclable SYNAPS® print material. This PDF excerpt gives an impression of the study and includes one of the seven cases as a sample.   To find out more or order a copy of "Sustainovation" contact   About brands & values brands & values management consultants is an international team of experts in strategy, organization and communication who help companies to realize value-added potential through sustainable business practices. Among the firm's clients are well-known companies from the consumer goods industry, food retailers and the energy sector plus foundations and organizations from the social sector. Since 2007 brands & values has been a German brand association (Markenverband) partner. Together they publish the annual brands & values Ethical Brand Monitor, a unique research tool examining the significance of sustainability on brand value.   For further press information please contact Helen Trevorrow or Cathy Warren at Green Row, 020 8960 8950