In May, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group, issued its third annual Sustainability and Innovation Global Executive Study. The survey gathered input from more than 4,000 executives and managers across all industries and regions.

The results indicate that more companies are taking sustainability seriously and are even able to track the financial benefits of their efforts.

Who would have imagined a decade ago that the auto industry would edge out the energy and utilities sector when it came to sustainability? Forty-one percent of all auto company executives and managers said their companies were making the business case for sustainability, twice the percentage from the financial services and media companies interviewed.

The larger the company, the more likely it is to have made sustainability a priority. Companies with more than 100,000 employees are more likely to have a comprehensive sustainability strategy; the case is especially true of companies within the commodities sector.

With the exception of industrial services and media companies, survey respondents indicated that sustainability related plans have contributed to their company’s profits, but sustainability does not necessarily bring quantifiable results. When it comes to intangible or hard to measure outcomes the most common benefits were improved brand reputation, increased competitive advantage, and better innovation.

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