According to the Third Annual Sustainability Global Executive Survey, more organizations than ever before are putting sustainability on their business agendas, and businesses recognize the need to do so in order to remain competitive. Many companies that successfully incorporate sustainability principles into their business report increased profits as an outcome. However, the survey also revealed that most companies are struggling to define sustainability in a way that is relevant to their business. Other research indicates that sustainability is still often addressed in a peripheral way, with a focus on “green” initiatives that are separate from core business strategies.

What is becoming clear is that firms that are reaping benefits from their sustainability initiatives have generally taken a holistic approach to incorporating sustainability throughout the organization. This approach requires extensive changes not only in the way the business is organized and sets its strategic goals, but also in the corporate culture and the attitudes and mindsets of organizational leaders, employees, and other stakeholders.