Alarmed by the speed and scale of disruption, CEOs are embracing sustainability to build long-term resilience, according to the UN Global Compact and Accenture

As the midpoint of the UN Sustainable Development Goals approaches and deadlines loom for a key milestone for a 1.5C world, CEOs act to avoid environmental, social and business growth impacts

New York, USA, January. Dec. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CEOs face an extremely challenging global environment, with the vast majority (93%) of businesses facing 10 or more challenges at the same time, and 87% of CEOs warn that the current The extent of disruption will limit the UN’s delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), finds the largest ever study of sustainable development CEOs by the UN Global Compact and Accenture (NYSE: ACN ). While CEOs are increasingly concerned about these headwinds, almost all (98%) see sustainability as core to their role, a view that has grown by 15 percentage points over the past 10 years of research.

12th UN Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study Drawing on insights from more than 2,600 CEOs in 128 countries, 18 industries, and more than 130 in-depth interviews—the largest sample of executives since a CEO took office, including the largest group of CEOs from the Global South in 2007 year research plan. In the study, CEOs forewarned the impact of shared setbacks for business and society, from faltering multilateralism and socioeconomic instability to supply chain disruptions and the immediate impact of climate change.

“In a world of conflict, energy shortages, rising inflation and the threat of recession, this year’s research shows CEOs don’t think the world is as resilient to crises as we’d like. Businesses continue to be impacted by multiple shocks .So, on a wide range of issues, from runaway climate change to growing social and economic inequality, business actions now are at odds with the ambition and pace needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” Assistant Secretary Sandra Sands said. Da Ojimbo said the Director-General, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact.

As these challenges mount, CEOs point to global issues that have traditionally existed outside the realm of the business — such as climate change or sociopolitical conflict — as reasons to worry about delivering value and impact for all stakeholders. With just eight years to go before rescuing the SDGs, nearly half (43%) of global CEOs say their sustainability efforts are being held back by the geopolitical environment, with the same percentage of CEOs from developing countries (51%) A higher percentage. In examining the net-zero targets set by the world’s largest companies, Accenture also found that unless carbon emissions are doubled by 2030, almost all of them will miss their targets.

However, some CEOs continue to make a big impact and demonstrate clear success stories, delivering shared stakeholder value and competitive advantage in their industries, and reshaping a sustainable future through innovation and collaboration. Two-thirds (66%) of CEOs say their companies are forming long-term strategic partnerships to build resilience. These leaders are reconfiguring underlying supply chains, reskilling their workforces, reevaluating their relationship to natural resources, and reimagining planetary boundaries through technological breakthroughs that span physical, digital, and biological solutions.

“Failure to deliver on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals is a real concern, but at the same time it’s a real concern for companies that are reshaping their businesses to make sustainability one of the main forces of change for the next decade. is a huge opportunity,” said Accenture’s Peter Lacy. Head of Global Sustainability Services and Chief Responsibility Officer. “CEOs clearly care about resilience, but one leader’s resilience is another leader’s growth opportunity. A new wave of technology investment and breakthrough innovation can bring the SDGs back within reach—but only if leaders Turning to sustainability to build resilience to help create new markets, products and services to correct current trajectories and drive growth in times of disruption.”

CEOs also identified a need to focus on technology to find solutions to global challenges and drive growth. Leading CEOs are already integrating sustainability into their business by launching new sustainable products and services (63%), enhancing sustainability data collection across the value chain (55%) and investing in renewable energy (49%) in the business. Nearly half (49%) are transitioning to circular business models and 40% are increasing R&D funding for sustainable innovation.

In their interviews, the CEOs identified key initiatives to build resilience for their companies, from establishing science-based climate goals and investing in the diversity of their workforces to engaging in cross-industry partnerships for technology solutions that improve supply chain visibility. and promote greater biodiversity. In addition, CEOs continue to call for government engagement in policy changes that prioritize longer-term measurable goals, such as standardized ESG reporting frameworks, global carbon markets and incentives for sustainable business models.

“Despite setbacks, there is hope. CEOs we surveyed increasingly recognize that they can build credibility and brand value by adhering to the Ten Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals throughout their operations – and not only because The right thing to do, but also because it’s good business sense,” Ojiambo added.

About the CEO Research Program

The CEO Research Program developed by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture aims to strengthen understanding and commitment between the United Nations and the private sector. The program is a broad review of the advancing corporate sustainability movement, publications that bring together mainstream perspectives from CEOs, business leaders and UN executives to track sustainable development.

About the United Nations Global Compact

A special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact calls on companies around the world to align their operations and strategies with ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. We aim to accelerate and amplify the collective global impact of business by adhering to the ten principles and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through responsible companies and ecosystems. With over 17,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories in over 160 countries, and 69 local networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative – One Global Compact uniting businesses for a better world . For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services firm, helping the world’s leading enterprises, governments and other organizations build their digital cores, optimize their operations, accelerate revenue growth and enhance citizen services – creating tangible value at speed and scale. We are a people and innovation-led company with 738,000 employees serving clients in more than 120 countries. Technology is at the heart of change today, and we are one of the world leaders helping to drive change, with strong ecosystem relationships. We combine our technical strength with unparalleled industry experience, expertise and global delivery capabilities. Because of our broad range of services, solutions and assets in Strategy & Consulting, Technology, Operations, Industry X and Accenture Song, we are uniquely able to achieve tangible results. These capabilities, combined with our culture of shared success and commitment to creating 360° value, enable us to help our clients succeed and build trusted, lasting relationships. We measure our success by the 360° value we create for our customers, each other, shareholders, partners and the community. Please visit our website


Alex Gee
United Nations Global Compact
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Alexander Eisenberg
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CONTACT: United Nations Global Compact (212) 907-1301

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