How should corporate leaders respond to the growing interest in sustainability among mainstream investors?
A growing number of investors are paying attention to ESG performance, as evidence mounts that sustainability-related activities are material to the financial success of a company over time. Investors care more about sustainability issues than many executives believe.
With greater numbers of investors making investment decisions based on sustainability performance, it is time for corporate leaders to recognize that an increasing number of shareholders are (literally) invested in whether a company’s ESG activities connect with its financial success.
Understanding investor priorities is an important responsibility for a company’s top executives and its board of directors. Based on their understanding of investor interests, an organization’s leadership will often focus corporate strategy and behavior in one direction rather than another.
If executives believe that their investors prioritize short-term profits, they will tend to organize sales, cost management, and research and development activities to maximize such profits rather than make certain long-term investments.
This global executive study on corporate sustainability from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) presents an in-depth analysis of investors’ new ability to connect sustainability performance with corporate performance, discusses how investors are using sustainability performance as a key criterion for making (and leaving) investments, and identifies what corporate leaders can do to stay relevant to sustainability-oriented investors.
The report identifies six key findings that emerged from the 2015 survey of more than 3,000 managers and investors in organizations from over 100 countries.