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CEOs Increasingly See Sustainability as Path to Profitability

Ilham Kadri, who heads Belgian chemical company Solvay, is among a growing group of leaders who say sustainability will play a role in their company’s future success


The Wall Street Journal | October 12, 2020


The Wall Street Journal article, “CEOs Increasingly See Sustainability as Path to Profitability," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates CEO Clarke Murphy​ and fe​​atures findings from our joint report with the UNGC, “Leadershi​p for the Decade of Action." The article is excerpted below.​

CEOs increasingly are embracing the idea that a company's environmental, social and governance practices will play a role in its future success. For example, a quarter of CEOs now strongly agree that investing in climate-change initiatives could lead to significant new product and service opportunities for their businesses, up from 13% in 2010, according to a 2020 survey of more than 1,500 global CEOs by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, an accounting and consulting firm.

Still, there appears a gap​​ between talk and action when it comes to hiring CEOs and executives based on their sustainability experience.

Last year, about 15% of 4,000 job postings for nonexecutive or senior executive positions mentioned sustainability, but only 4% at most required actual experience in it, according to a report by the United Nations Global Compact and executive hiring consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

“Businesses are doing a great job embedding tal​k of sustainability into descriptions about their company, but are falling short in driving decisions about which leaders to hire based on it," the report says.

Russell Reynolds CEO Clarke Murphy says he expects that to change in the coming years.

“I don't think this is just chat, chat, chat."

To read the full article, click here.