As we proceed to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating social and financial results, corporations are persevering with their efforts to develop into extra sustainable — and a few are being acknowledged for his or her efforts.

The 2020 Sustainability Leaders, a GlobeScan-SustainAbility survey of consultants worldwide, reveals which corporations are perceived to be leaders on sustainability throughout this difficult time by sustainability professionals representing enterprise, authorities, NGOs and academia. Over 700 consultants had been surveyed on-line throughout 71 nations in Could.

Outcomes present that Unilever continues to dominate as a acknowledged chief among the many sustainability neighborhood, securing the main place for the 10th 12 months in a row, with Patagonia and IKEA following within the second and third spots, respectively.

Information from the survey point out that company sustainability leaders must navigate an growing sense of urgency for nearly all sustainability challenges. On the similar time, about half of consultants worry that the impression of the present pandemic will deprioritize the sustainability agenda over the subsequent decade.

Whereas environmental points resembling local weather change, biodiversity loss, water shortage and water air pollution dominate the record of points that consultants say are essentially the most pressing — these are all thought of extra pressing than they had been in 2019 — the perceived urgency of social points can be on the rise. Consultants specific vital will increase in concern about poverty, financial inequality and discrimination, and rising consideration can be given to accessibility of wants resembling schooling, meals and vitality.

Though the problems we face have gotten extra pressing, most consultants imagine that the pandemic may have a destructive impression on the sustainable improvement agenda over the subsequent 10 years, probably making the transformation to sustainable enterprise way more difficult. The pandemic and its financial aftermath are anticipated to additional exacerbate inequalities and poverty, emphasizing the significance of the social elements of the sustainability agenda.

Nevertheless, nearly a 3rd of consultants additionally imagine that the pandemic will result in a renewed give attention to environmental points, and a few level to shifting provide chains and adjustments in client behaviors and journey as probably optimistic outcomes.

On this difficult context, consultants in North America in addition to globally proceed to acknowledge the efforts made by Unilever to advance the sustainability agenda. Unilever has dominated perceptions of sustainability management amongst sustainability professionals for a decade, however there are some indicators that the management panorama could also be starting to shift. On the world stage, 4 new corporations enter the record this 12 months: Microsoft; Ørsted; L’Oréal; and Tata.

North American consultants’ views on which corporations are leaders largely line up with the worldwide common, though recognition of each Unilever and Patagonia is even stronger amongst this group. Consultants primarily based in North America additionally acknowledge extra North American-based corporations as top-tier sustainability leaders, together with Mars, Nike, Walmart and Maple Leaf Meals.

Whereas having sustainability as a part of the core enterprise mannequin continues to be a significant component of acknowledged sustainability management, setting formidable targets and committing to the United Nations Sustainable Improvement Objectives are the highest points within the eyes of consultants.

As we confront a world pandemic and the financial hardship it’s producing, efforts round communications and advocacy alongside well being, social engagement and human rights have develop into more and more necessary standards as nicely.

As a way to improve resilience and their capacity to resist future systemic shocks, companies are in the beginning anticipated to double down on their ESG commitments. Past making certain enterprise continuity and threat preparedness, the personal sector is inspired by consultants to take far-reaching motion by rethinking enterprise fashions, reworking provide chains and specializing in reducing GHG emissions.

Collaboration and partnerships with governments are additionally pointed to as pressing actions that corporations ought to take to construct resilience.

The findings of this 2020 survey make it clear what the personal sector should do to extend resilience and the flexibility to resist future shocks within the wake of COVID-19: embed environmental sustainability and ESG in technique, develop new and sustainable enterprise fashions, enhance threat administration and enterprise continuity planning and rework provide chains. The time to behave is now.

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