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There is a groundswell of professional observations that ESG/Sustainability has truly gone mainstream over the last several years. I can think of no better way to validate this growing understanding than to explore the ultimate question we must ask … is ESG/Sustainability leading to real return on investment?
The answer is … “yes,” if you know where to look.
- Corporate Responsibility (a.k.a. ESG and/or Sustainability) can help to increase sales revenue up to 20% and affect variations in customer satisfaction by 10% or more. It can also reduce the company’s staff turnover rate by as much as 50%, as found in the Project ROI study sponsored by Campbell Soup [$CPB] and Verizon [$VZ].
- 43% of US-based company finance executives have indicated that revenue growth is a key driver for their actions on sustainability, of which 87% have experienced some level of revenue growth over the past 12 months, based on recent interviews of 210 executives conducted by ING.
- 66% of consumers have reported that they are willing to spend more for goods and services that have a positive impact on the world around them, as Nielsen [$NLSN] found in a study of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries. Nielsen concludes that, “committing to sustainability might just pay off for consumer brands.”
While the inference is very strong that companies are realizing real return on their ESG/Sustainability investments, it is still very hard to find companies that are bold enough to connect the dots specifically with clearly stated ROI correlation in absolute dollars or proportion.