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Sustainability in the Spotlight: The Balancing Act of ESG


Sustainability in the Spotlight: The Balancing Act of ESGIs sustainability strategy ready to deliver? That’s a question on the minds of many leaders and stakeholders today, as sustainability in the corporate world has been defined by flux. The global issues that ESG aims to address — climate change, human rights and equity, among others — are enormous and only becoming more complex. This is because, in its broadest definition, ESG reflects a set of objectives common to all companies — from managing risk to playing a role in addressing societal issues to identifying opportunities for growth and value creation.

The corporate will and effort to address these opportunities and challenges seems to be growing, not shrinking. The third annual global Sustainability in the Spotlight survey, conducted by Spencer Stuart and the Diligent Institute, asked public and private board directors across industries and geographies about their companies’ sustainability strategies and oversight. We also asked respondents to provide their perspectives on and involvement in defining their organization’s ESG vision and strategy, as well as their role in overseeing results.

We surveyed 801 board members in March 2024 from public, private and pre-IPO organizations in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Here are a few highlights from our report.


A Snapshot of Key Findings

96 %

expect a continued or stronger focus on ESG in the next five years

63 %

cite diversity and inclusion as the top sustainability issue

66 %

say their companies have stayed the course on ESG in response to backlash

62 %

say they are responding to ESG regulation by enhancing their filings and disclosures

42 %

want more clarity on how ESG goals connect to business strategy

94 %

say their company has an ESG metric or goal in at least one business area

24 %

cite internal competition as the biggest obstacle to ESG strategy development and integration