Sustainability ‘twice as important to firms in developing markets’

Business leaders in emerging markets are more concerned about sustainability than their peers in developed markets, according to a survey of 2500 companies by accountancy firm Grant Thornton.

Sustainability: Changing The Debate In Emerging Markets reveals that an average of 58% of African and Latin American executives considered renewable sources of energy to be important to their company’s growth, compared to just 26% of European and North American executives. (Scroll down for full report)

“These results highlight the fact that we need to change the narrative of the sustainability debate,” said Nathan Goode, global leader for energy and clean-tech at Grant Thornton.

“The focus on sustainability in emerging economies is driven by a number of factors including the resource-intensity of their growth and the impact climate change is already having on their local environment. Businesses in these economies clearly have a keen appetite for investment in green technologies which have moved on rapidly as the supply of more traditional energy sources has become more volatile.

“The opportunity in emerging markets is huge; the debate should now focus on how – not whether – these technologies are deployed.”

Chart: What matters to businesses:

Public benefits

Goode continued: “The political leaders of major emerging economies continue to affirm that their number one priority is the eradication of poverty. However the growth of these economies increasingly relies on how they manage access to scarce resources such as water. There is no choice to be made on whether to focus on sustainability or poverty; the two are mutually dependent.

“Businesses in these markets are telling us that the cost, availability and sustainability of energy and raw materials are vital to their growth prospects. Their voices need to be heard.”

The report’s findings corroborate a recent YouGov poll which found that four out of five UK business leaders say energy affordability is important to their company; nearly twice the amount that prioritised a low-carbon economy.


Sustainability: changing the debate in emerging markets

Brad Allen

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