Ethical Corporation survey finds 75 per cent of companies still haven’t embedded sustainability

One of the key polls posted asked whether sustainability is fully embedded within their employee culture. Rather alarmingly 75 per cent of the attendees stated that sustainability isn’t fully embedded within their employee culture.

When exploring possible reasons for this, the top issue was getting management buy-in. 238 (41 per cent) of our attendees stated that management buy-in was the most difficult issue when trying to create a sustainability innovation culture.

Reiterating this point, Andrew Cave, head of sustainability at Royal Bank of Scotland, added that in a complex business environment with the management split across several different departments and geographies, some great ideas may not get the exposure they deserve.

Noting that hard work is required to pull together all the relevant people to make the right things happen, Andrew states that “probably the single biggest challenge is getting the collective management will to do some innovation.”

Touching upon the solutions to make sustainability part of every employee culture Christine Diamente, head of brand and corporate sustainability at Alcatel-Lucent, said that it has to be a combination of various factors. “The way of getting management buy in is by getting employee buy in. And that you clearly have to have the guidelines to have a framework upon which people understand what sustainability is. You have to define your key priorities, values, KPIs.”

Christine went on to say “You must to be able to do it with the management because it’s got to be relevant to the business but you’ve got to have the employees input and buy-in on these priorities, so they can value around on them. You have to allow this window of innovation for both management and employees. And I think governing is probably the single most important thing.”

A great point was added by Sarah Ellis, head of corporate responsibility and society at Sainsbury’s, outlining the importance to keep your customers in mind when working on creating sustainability innovation culture. She stated this will “help you with the things like convincing your employees, getting management buy-in, and making sure that you are setting the right guidelines in the right area that will be important to your business and your customers.”

For more information contact:
Elina Yumasheva
+44(0) 20 7375 7573

The webinar was run as part of The Responsible Business 2014 knowledge exchange. The full webinar is available here:

For more information on the summit, or to find out how this year’s agenda will influence your future business practices visit the official website:

Ethical Corporation provides business intelligence for sustainability to more than 3,000 multinational companies every year. We publish the leading responsible business magazine, website, and research reports. Our conferences are widely recognised as the best in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability.


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