Senior executives have increased their commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR&S) by seven per cent since 2018, according to a new survey.
The UK comes in at 71 per cent for very high/high commitment at board level, with Europe following close behind at 67 per cent and North America scoring 59 per cent.
There is a greater level of legislation on CR&S issues in the UK and Europe which could contribute to the inflated results from this year’s survey, compared to North America.
Catherine Harris, Acre’s Head of Sustainability & Corporate Affairs – Americas, said:
“Europe has benefitted from years, if not decades, of policy and legislation to force disclosure and transparency around responsible business practice. This means (generally speaking) that business has gone through an extensive overhaul and is now experiencing and building on the benefits of sustainable business practice.
“These drivers simply don’t exist in the same way over here in the States. Initiatives are now are being driven by investor pressure, consumer demand and commercial drivers – but it will take some time before we see the level of commitment, innovation and impact that our colleagues are experiencing on the other side of the pond.”
Harco Leertouwer, Managing Director – Benelux, Acre, said:
“We are very pleased indeed with these results, and to see that the commitment to CR&S in Continental Europe has never been higher. The results are reflected by the opening of the Acre office in Amsterdam earlier this year, and our significantly increased footprint in the Benelux region.
“There is a high demand for impact-driven professionals to join the growing number of organisations who are keen to drive change. While Acre has been active in these markets since the company was founded in 2003, the need for us to have a physical presence in these markets is led by the boost in activity here.
“Despite the COVID crisis and the economic downturn, Acre’s business in this geographic area has gone from strength to strength.”
Liam Goldsworthy, Senior Consultant - CR&S - Retail & Consumer Goods, Acre, said:
“The seven per cent overall increase in board-level commitment and engagement around sustainability comes as no surprise given the notable step change in sophistication with how organisations are structuring and hiring around the agenda. While the prevalence of the Chief Sustainability Officer tapered off at the time of our last report, we’ve seen a resurgence of sustainability presence at board level, and a growth in senior specialist mandates which sit within traditional organisational functions such as operations, finance, commercial and even HR.
“The UK has long been the epicentre of such trends, with the rest of Europe similarly committed. The strategic agendas we’re seeing form around biodiversity, climate, social justice, wellbeing and ESG disclosure should mean this trend continues with the pandemic proving a catalyst.”
To find out more about the seven per cent rise in senior executives’ commitment to CR&S, or to read about the rise in global sustainability salaries, click here to download a copy of the full report.
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