CEOs choose sustainable branding over concrete climate action

UK CEOs are prioritising sustainable branding over tangible action, a new report shows. 

The report, which was conducted by Russel Reynolds Associates (RRA) reveals that less than half of the UK’s C-suite leaders believe their CEO is personally committed to advancing sustainability. 

The research, which included 8,594 employees and 907 C-suite leaders across 11 countries, suggests that British businesses are not taking sustainability as seriously as they claim. 

The majority (51%) of C-suite leaders believe that brand management is the driving force behind their sustainability strategy. 

By comparison, just 20% say impact reducing is the driving force behind their strategy. 

laptop computer on glass-top table

Sarah Galloway at RRA commented: ‘Despite everything that was said and done in the run-up to COP26, too many UK CEOs still see sustainability as a marketing issue. No wonder employees have such little faith that their leaders will follow through on the rhetoric.

‘With the CMA looking more closely than ever before at greenwashing, CEOs must do more to integrate sustainability into every boardroom discussion, business unit, and even job specification. It cannot remain the sole responsibility of environmental experts.

‘The sustainability agenda will demand a fundamentally different style of leadership. There is now an urgent need for leaders who have the vision to strike a new path and the ability to embed purpose and sustainability across business strategy and operations. These leaders are made not born, we have to ensure that the next generation of CEOs are given the opportunity to drive sustainability forward today.’

However, looking forward the report highlights that the transition to net-zero will not happen during a single CEO tenure and the next generation of leaders will be key to achieving the scale of transformation needed over the upcoming decade.



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