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Futurum’s Latest Survey Shows Sustainability as Primary Global Business Focus, With Energy Evolution and Technology-Driven Solutions Leading the Way for Environmental Success

AUSTIN, Texas, April 25, 2023–The latest edition of the Futurum environmental sustainability index, produced quarterly by The Futurum Group in collaboration with Honeywell, has revealed that sustainability has now become the foremost priority for major organizations. The global survey provides a comprehensive measurement of sentiment and progress towards environmental sustainability initiatives among business leaders directly involved in their organizations’ sustainability efforts.

Based on a double-blind survey of 751 business, technology, and sustainability professionals in leadership roles within organizations with a minimum of 1,000 active employees, the sustainability index measures four key sustainability categories: energy evolution and efficiency, emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling. In addition to the survey findings, the sustainability index is designed to closely monitor and track business progress on a global scale towards climate change mitigation and other sustainability initiatives.

Among the top findings from the Q2 2023 survey:

  • Sustainability Takes the Lead: Organizations are placing sustainability goals as their top priority for the next six months, surpassing financial performance, workforce development, and business continuity. The survey reported 75% of organizations ranked sustainability among their top five priorities, an increase from the previous quarter’s figure of 71%. Interestingly, sustainability initiatives now hold a significant 19 percentage point lead over digital transformation initiatives.
  • Energy Evolution and Efficiency at the Forefront: Energy evolution and efficiency is considered the top sustainability priority for the coming six months, followed by emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling initiatives, with no significant changes from previous quarters. Circularity and recycling are poised for growth, indicating organizations are increasingly examining supply chains and material flows to improve the renewal and regeneration of products, services, and resources.
  • Economic Challenges Persist: The current economic and geopolitical environment continues to pose challenges in achieving sustainability goals for organizations, aligning with the trend from the previous survey.
  • Optimism Remains: Organizations overwhelmingly believe they have been successful in achieving their environmental sustainability goals over the past 12 months, and optimism remains high for near-term goals. Long-term environmental sustainability targets are also viewed positively, with increasing optimism about achieving 2030 targets across all categories.

Findings from the previous study (1Q 2023) highlighted a notable change in sustainability approaches, moving away from a balanced approach leveraging process-driven methods towards technology-driven solutions. The latest study reaffirms this trend, as organizations continue to prioritize environmental and sustainability initiatives and increase their investments in cutting-edge technologies. This shift towards technology-driven approaches reflects the growing recognition of the role that technology can play in driving sustainable practices and addressing pressing environmental challenges. It underscores the growing importance of innovative solutions and advanced technologies in helping organizations achieve their sustainability goals.

While 83% of organizations still plan to increase investments in sustainability initiatives, a slight decrease from the previous quarter (87%), a larger percentage (13%) are maintaining investment levels due to the current economic climate.

“Organizations are recognizing the growing importance of sustainability, with a significant majority planning to increase investments in environmental initiatives,” said Daniel Newman, principal analyst and CEO at The Futurum Group. “Despite a slight decrease in investments from the previous quarter, the current economic climate has prompted a larger percentage to maintain investment levels. This reflects the unwavering commitment of businesses towards sustainability as a critical driver for long-term success.”

Since the new survey reaffirms businesses worldwide recognize the critical importance of environmental sustainability, the index can serve as a valuable tool for organizations to benchmark their sustainability efforts against industry peers and global standards, track their performance, and adapt their strategies to address the dynamic landscape of sustainability challenges. It also helps businesses stay accountable and transparent in their sustainability commitments.

“The latest Futurum environmental sustainability study clearly confirms that sustainability has become a top priority for business leaders around the world,” said Shelly Kramer, president and chief evangelist at The Futurum Group. “There are economic challenges, but organizations report that they remain committed to achieving their sustainability goals as they increasingly embrace a technology-driven approach. As we move closer to the 2030 target, we anticipate this trend to continue. This not only helps organizations navigate the ever-evolving landscape of sustainability challenges, but also promotes positive change on a global scale, supporting the urgent need for climate action and environmental stewardship.”

As ESG-related (environmental, social, and governance) regulations and global calls to action for sustainability become more stringent and prevalent, the index takes on even greater significance. Tracking business progress on global climate change mitigation and other sustainability initiatives, the environmental sustainability index enables organizations to stay ahead of regulatory requirements, demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, and contribute to the collective effort towards a more sustainable and resilient future. By leveraging the insights provided by the index, businesses can proactively identify areas for improvement, implement impactful changes, and accelerate their progress towards achieving their sustainability goals.

The 2Q 2023 sustainability index report can be downloaded at: https://futurumresearch.com/research-reports/honeywell-environmental-sustainability-index-q2-2023/