Sustainability is Profitable for Companies

Companies have been engaging in sustainability initiatives in recent years, and going out of their way to report on them. Cynics see these moves as pure public relations puffery, but some new data suggests that sustainability may in fact be profitable.

The Conference Board, in a new research report, finds that sustainability innovation is powering business growth.

According to the report, revenues from company-defined portfolios of sustainable products and services grew by 91% between 2010 and 2013 among the companies examined in the report.

In fact, revenues from sustainable products and services grew at six times the rate of overall company revenues.

Sustainable products represent a growing share of revenues from companies in the sample, and on average account for 21% of total revenues in 2013, vs. 18% in 2010.

Total investments in clean energy increased 142 percent from 2006, reaching $310 billion in 2014 – with much of the financing for these investments now coming commercial and investment banks.

The report shows why companies that view sustainability as pure P.R. are doing themselves – and their stakeholders — a disservice. Sustainability is now about growth, and profit.

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