BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), Globescan, and Net Impact have jointly researched the opinions and attitudes of current and future leaders on the state of sustainable business.
The survey found there is strong alignment between the perspectives of current and future leaders on the state of sustainable business, however there are some key differences in views on transparency and priorities for the business sector.
For the first time in its six year history, the annual BSR/Globescan State of Sustainable Business Survey included around 500 undergraduate and graduate student members of Net Impact as a way to measure the attitudes of our emerging sustainability leaders.
Both current and future sustainability leaders recognise the most important leadership challenge is how to integrate sustainability into core business operations. And while both BSR and Net Impact respondents rate transparency as a major leadership challenger, Net Impact respondents tended to view current business performance as low on transparency.
As a proxy measure of the importance weighting that emerging leaders may give to sustainability issues, Net Impact respondents prioritised sustainable consumption, climate change and water quality/availability as critical priorities for the business sector.
In contrast, current sustainability business leaders ranked human rights and workers’ rights as the most important priorities, followed by climate change. Net impact members tended to give much higher priority across most issues compared to current sustainability leaders.
Some of the more stark differences (for example, sustainable consumption was ranked most important by 85% of Net Impact members but only 44% of BSR members) highlights potential challenges for organisations and businesses in managing the new generation of sustainability leaders.