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India Inc. Leading in Integrating Sustainability in Business Strategies: Report

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According to a new study, 57% of Indian businesses have a sustainability strategy that has been implemented and communicated clearly. This is in light of the expectation of sustainability becoming the driving force of corporate success in the coming decade. Now with the Government of India also emphasising heavily on sustainable development as highlighted in the Union Budget 2022, the focus of India Inc. towards sustainability is set to further increase.
According to a report by leadership advisory and search firm Russell Reynolds Associates titled ‘Divides and Dividends: Leadership Actions for a More Sustainable Future,’ 43% of organisations have sustainability strategies that have been explicitly implemented and communicated globally.
The report based on responses from over 9,500 respondents, including 1,392 in India – C-Suite executives, next-generation leaders, and workers has stated that, more Indian leaders are seeing the importance of sustainability in terms of people, planet, and profit.
According to the report, 61 per cent of employees believe their CEO is personally committed to sustainability and organisational success in India, as compared to only 51 per cent at a global level.

Motivations of Sustainability Strategy in India

More than 45 per cent of India’s C-suite executives have admitted that their sustainability strategy is primarily motivated by brand management concerns, such as the desire to be seen as socially responsible and reputable, or the desire to use sustainability as a competitive differentiator, according to the report. Around 29% of the country’s C-suite leaders stated their sustainability efforts are motivated by value creation, such as making a positive effect by developing new sustainable products or services, or providing chances and access to disadvantaged or underserved people, according to the report.

Challenge in Inculcating Sustainability in Business Strategy in India

The absence of organisational investment, according to the report, is the most significant barrier to integrating sustainability into corporate strategy. It said that the lack of organisational investment is a big concern for over 51% of C-suite leaders in India, followed by short-term investor demands (47%), and organisational complexity (46%).
Meanwhile, the survey noted that 70% of India’s next-generation leaders have taken on three or more job responsibilities in the last two years to improve environmental and social results, much exceeding the global average (40%) and their APAC counterparts (49%).
Russell Reynolds Associates consultant Vijuraj Eranazhath has said in a statement, “Our research shows that while business leaders in India are firmly committed to sustainability action, many are running into myriad challenges on their sustainability journeys, from bureaucracy and a lack of organisational investment to short-term pressures from investors. It’s also comforting to note that next-gen leaders in India seem to be getting a lot more exposure to strategic sustainability initiatives vis-a-vis the global average, which sets up Indian businesses well for the future.”