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From Sustainability to Business: Finance as a Catalyst

Sustainability is by now a well-established feature on the US corporate agenda. Yet there is still a big difference among US companies in terms of the importance and attention given to sustainability over other business priorities.

Done well, sustainability-driven initiatives — improving energy efficiency, rethinking supply chains and even transforming business models – have the potential to drive competitive advantage, innovation and revenue growth. But few companies are realizing the full extent of these gains today.

To better understand how financing and other lending products can help drive a low-carbon, sustainable society, ING interviewed 210 US-based finance executives from sectors including financial services, manufacturing, technology and consumer goods. Nearly two-thirds of the companies have revenues between $500 million and $5 billion. The findings, outlined in From Sustainability to Business Value: Finance as a Catalyst, reveal that revenue growth is the most important factor when deciding to implement sustainability strategies, as 39 percent of respondents ranked this first. Cutting costs (35 percent) and brand reputation (30 percent), followed.

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