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A strengthened link between sustainability and growth strategy

A strengthened link between sustainability and growth strategy

A strengthened link between sustainability and growth strategy

Nordic CEOs are actively pursuing new sustainability initiatives. Sixty-two percent believe that their organization's growth will be determined by the ability to anticipate and navigate the global shift to a low-carbon, clean technology economy. 


Nordic CEOs are staying the course in their efforts to promote sustainability. Their commitment to looking beyond purely financial growth to achieving long-term, sustainable success has been unwavering, at 43 percent.  

Green leadership is part of the organization's social responsibility, but also, expectations from employees and customers are growing. In addition to being the overall responsible for sustainability, the CEO needs to be motivated to drive change. Half-hearted inititiatives will be seen through.

Karoline Nystrøm
CEO in Schneider Electric Norway

We must look beyond purely financial growth if we are to achieve long-term, sustainable success:

Source: 2019 CEO Outlook, KPMG.

The Nordic countries and companies are renowned as global sustainability leaders, with high scores across a variety of sustainability performance measurements. The results in this year's CEO Outlook show that Nordic CEOs already consider sustainability as ingrained in their business strategy and financial growth, and they are less likely to make the distinction between financial growth and sustainability that CEOs globally make. This is further borne out by the findings that Nordic CEOs are more likely to say they are most motivated by enabling long-term business success (19 percent vs. 11 percent) and less likely to cite short-term growth as a driver (16 percent vs. 22 percent), an indication that they may feel less constrained by short-termism.

Despite the strong focus on sustainable growth, 53 percent of the Nordic CEOs say they still struggle to link their growth strategy with a wider societal purpose for the organization, a bit lower than the global average (76 percent).

We are struggling to link our growth strategy with a wider societal purpose for the organization:

Source: 2019 CEO Outlook, KPMG.

On the other hand, 75 percent claim that the organization has an effective workforce of sustainability experts that lead the integration of sustainable thinking into business strategy, and 62 percent of the CEOs feel it is their personal responsibility to ensure that the environmental, social and governance policies reflect the values of the customers. This suggests that the future looks bright for the Nordic sustainable development.

I see the results as a sign that we are building up to a tipping point: Sustainability awareness has gradually increased. We are now at a point where strong actions are mobilized, reflecting the urgency of the situation the planet and our society is now facing.

Anette Rønnov
Director and Head of Sustainability Services in KPMG No

Download full report:

For more information on CEO Outlook 2019 survey and complete overview of findings, please see the full report available for download. 

KPMG Sustainability Services:

KPMG has been providing sustainability services for more than 20 years and is a pioneer in sustainability consulting. Our international sustainability network consists of more than 500 subject matter experts from more than 60 countries that help organizations ensure a long term and responsible business and meet the high standards and expectations from customers, owners, government and the public.


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