GLOUCESTER, Mass., Dec. 19 /CSRwire/ - Over $8 billion was earned in 2015 from sustainability efforts by respondents in the latest Pure Strategies survey of how leading companies are integrating sustainability into their businesses.  In addition, the survey found that top-performing companies are generating twice as much value from their sustainability efforts as their peers, indicating that sustainability is re-defining the source of business value.

“Our research demonstrates that sustainability brings strong dividends of brand enhancement, increased sales, motivated employees and reduced risks and costs,” says Tim Greiner, Pure Strategies Managing Director. “We also found that leading companies that are earning more, plan to further invest in their sustainability programs, signaling a strong business case for sustainability.”

While 43% reported at least $1 million in increased sales from sustainability efforts, a larger portion of the sample, 45%, reported manufacturing cost savings, typically through resource efficiency and productivity projects. The Clorox organization found that cost savings from sustainability improvements delivered an average of $15 million annually since 2008. 

Respondents identified product innovation, design, and development, activating a sustainability purpose in the business, and sustainable sourcing as the most valuable program approaches. Unilever reported 30% faster growth for its brands with a sustainability purpose, compared to the rest of its business, with these more sustainable products contributing nearly half of the firm’s total growth in 2015. Three of the top five brands driving this value are engaged in sustainable agriculture, including Knorr, Lipton, and Hellman’s. Jonathan Atwood, VP, Sustainable Business, notes “The strong performance of our brands shows that there doesn’t need to be a trade-off between sustainability and profitable growth.”

Pure Strategies’ market research included telephone interviews with 153 sustainability leads in global companies with revenue of at least $250 million in these industries: food and beverage, apparel and footwear, life sciences and medical products, electronics and appliances, home care and cleaning, personal care and cosmetics, and general merchandise. Pure Strategies conducted similar studies in 2015 and 2013 that also informed the report. Additional details on the 2016 research can be found in this pureInsight report and this article.

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 Report by Hugo Hernandez Gusther, Eco preneur and founder of Edanaro