2023/24 Sustainability Reports and Trends in Business

03 March 2024 by Sean Desouza
blog author

​The 2023/24 Sustainability Report is a landmark report that paints a comprehensive picture of global sustainability trends and practices. It serves as a crucial guide for organisations looking to integrate sustainable methods into their operations.

Highlighting the strides and challenges in sustainability, this report is key for businesses striving to align their strategies with environmental and social priorities.

It offers the insights needed for organisations to navigate the sustainability landscape, promoting a shift towards more responsible and impactful business practices.

Key Findings

The 2023/24 Sustainability Report reveals several key findings that highlight the evolving landscape of sustainability trends and sustainable business practices.

Major Findings on Sustainability Trends and Practices

  • Leadership and Commitment: A notable commitment to sustainability across sectors, with leadership engagement particularly highlighted in the UK and Asia. This underscores the critical role of executive involvement in driving sustainability initiatives.

  • Sustainability Goals Scepticism: Despite widespread public commitments to sustainability, there’s a prevalent scepticism about achieving these goals, indicating a gap between ambitions and operational capabilities.

  • Investment in Sustainability Teams: Increasing trends in budget allocations and team expansions for sustainability indicate a growing recognition of its importance; however, there’s a disparity in resources across sectors, with the property and real estate sector leading in proactive measures, partly due to regulatory pressures.

  • Diversity and Education: The high educational attainment among sustainability professionals and a focus on Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in the UK point towards a highly skilled and diverse workforce leading sustainability efforts.

  • Remote Work and Employee Satisfaction: The adaptation to remote work, especially in North America, and the reported satisfaction with compensation in the manufacturing sector, suggest changing dynamics in workplaces that could influence sustainability strategies.

Environmental Trends and Indicators

  • Proactive Sustainability Approaches: The property and real estate sector is particularly noted for its proactive sustainability efforts, driven by regulatory trends. This contrasts with other sectors where resources for sustainability are seen as inadequate, highlighting the need for industry-wide engagement in sustainability.

  • Education and Executive Engagement: High levels of education among sustainability professionals and the integration of sustainability into executive KPIs and remuneration strategies suggest an evolving corporate culture that prioritises sustainability. This is crucial for aligning organisational objectives with sustainable development goals.

  • Shift Towards Regenerative Practices: The report calls for a shift from minimising negative impacts to actively contributing positive effects, advocating for regenerative, additive, and circular practices as the future norm. This includes focusing on broader sustainability challenges beyond direct operational impacts.

  • Strategic Partnerships: Emphasis on strategic partnerships and collaboration across industries to harness opportunities for doing more good, including nature-based solutions and social co-benefits, indicating a move towards more integrated and innovative approaches to sustainability.

  • Challenges in Meeting Sustainability Goals: The scepticism around meeting sustainability goals and the need for a mindset shift among organisations to fully embrace and implement environmental business trends highlight ongoing challenges on the path to sustainability.

Industry Insights

The adaptation to environmental trends and the incorporation of environmental considerations into business strategies are becoming increasingly important across various industries.

Here's an overview of how different sectors are responding to environmental business trends:

Energy Sector

There's a significant pivot towards cleaner energy sources. Companies are investing in research and development to overcome the challenges of renewable energy storage and distribution, positioning themselves as leaders in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Manufacturing and Construction

These sectors are focusing on reducing their environmental footprint through sustainable materials, energy-efficient processes, and modular construction techniques.

The adoption of green building standards signifies a commitment to sustainability that also offers economic benefits through energy savings and enhanced asset values.


Embracing sustainable farming practices, such as precision agriculture, organic farming, and water-efficient systems, is crucial for this sector.

Innovations aimed at reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers and improving crop resilience to climate change are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Finance and Insurance

Financial institutions are integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria into their investment decisions, promoting green finance, and developing products that support sustainable projects.

Insurance companies are adapting by offering products that encourage sustainable practices and mitigate climate risks.

Consumer Goods and Retail

There's a growing emphasis on sustainable supply chains, ethical sourcing, and product lifecycle management. Companies are increasingly transparent about their sustainability efforts, engaging consumers through sustainable product offerings and packaging solutions.

Information Technology

The IT sector is leveraging its capabilities to support sustainability across industries through innovations in data analytics, blockchain for supply chain transparency, and energy-efficient computing technologies.


Efforts to reduce emissions are evident in the shift towards electric vehicles, sustainable aviation fuels, and efficient logistics planning. Public transportation systems are also being upgraded to be more sustainable and accessible.

Challenges and Opportunities


  • Complex Regulatory Environments: Navigating the maze of local, national, and international regulations can be daunting. Compliance becomes a moving target as governments evolve their environmental policies, making it difficult for businesses to stay ahead.

  • High Initial Costs: Transitioning to sustainable practices often requires significant upfront investment in new technologies, processes, and training. This can be a substantial barrier, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • Supply Chain Transparency: Achieving transparency and sustainability in the supply chain is a major challenge. Businesses need to ensure that their suppliers adhere to sustainable practices, which requires robust monitoring and management systems.

  • Consumer Scepticism: Greenwashing, or misleading claims about a product's environmental benefits, has led to increased consumer scepticism. Companies must work harder to build trust and demonstrate genuine commitment to sustainability.

  • Technological Challenges: The development and implementation of green technologies can be slow and fraught with unforeseen challenges. Keeping pace with rapidly evolving technologies requires constant vigilance and adaptability.


  • Innovation and Differentiation: Embracing sustainable trends can drive innovation, leading to the development of new products and services that offer environmental benefits. This can differentiate a business in a crowded market.

  • Cost Savings: While the initial transition to sustainable practices may be costly, in the long run, these practices can lead to significant cost savings through improved efficiency and reduced waste.

  • Brand Loyalty and Market Demand: Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products and services. Companies that align with these values can build stronger brand loyalty and tap into new market segments.

  • Access to Capital: Investors are increasingly focusing on sustainability. Businesses that demonstrate a strong commitment to environmental goals may find it easier to access financing and attract investment.

  • Collaboration and Partnerships: The push for sustainability is fostering new forms of collaboration, both within industries and across sectors. Partnerships with NGOs, government agencies, and other businesses can amplify sustainability efforts and lead to shared success.

Implications for Stakeholders

For Businesses

Integrating sustainability into core operations is crucial for long-term profitability and resilience.

Adopting sustainable practices is not just ethically important but also essential to stay competitive and meet the growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

For Policymakers

Effective regulatory frameworks are key to promoting sustainable practices. Clear, actionable policies that support environmental goals can catalyse significant advancements in corporate sustainability, balancing economic growth with ecological preservation.

For Investors

Sustainability is becoming crucial in assessing the long-term viability of investments. Companies committed to environmental stewardship are increasingly seen as offering competitive returns, indicating a shift towards valuing long-term sustainability in investment decisions.

For Consumers

Consumer preferences are shifting towards sustainable products, highlighting the influence of consumer choices on corporate sustainability efforts. Opting for products from companies committed to sustainability can significantly impact market trends and corporate behaviours.

Key Takeaways

The 2023/24 Sustainability Report illuminates the critical role of sustainability in shaping the future of businesses and societies worldwide.

It stresses the urgency for incorporating sustainable practices across industries, highlighting the progress and challenges in the environmental arena.

This comprehensive report is a call to action for organisations, governments, and individuals to stay informed and proactive about sustainability trends.