The rise of the sustainable enterprise

Environmental sustainability is no longer just a corporate social responsibility (CSR) issue—it’s a business imperative. Opportunities and risks related to the environment now challenge the strategies and operating models of organizations across all sectors and functions. In fact, environmental strategy choices, as a subset of a broader sustainability agenda, increasingly define a company’s prospects in today’s competitive marketplace. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2020, the top five business risks were linked to environmental challenges, including extreme weather and climate action failure. So it’s no surprise that investors and financial managers are increasingly incorporating sustainability criteria in their investment decisions. In early 2020, Blackrock, the largest money manager in the world, announced “that sustainability should be our new standard for investing.” Customers and employees have also become much more environmentally conscious. A recent study by IBM found that nearly 80 percent of consumers indicate sustainability is important to them and 60 percent are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact.