Smurfit Kappa publishes ESG research

A new survey conducted by Smurfit Kappa, in partnership with the Financial Times, shows that only 11% of businesses believe they have a robust sustainability strategy.

The research entitled The Transparency Edge, was conducted among 440 senior and executive business leaders across 11 major economies. It shows that despite half of businesses having set ambitious plans to achieve net zero, only 11% of respondents believe they have a robust and actionable sustainability strategy.

More than half (61%) that responded state that sustainability is changing the way they measure financial performance and almost half of businesses (47%) have prioritised packaging innovation as a way to meet their own net zero targets.

While 63% of businesses believe they have complete transparency on how and why sustainability decisions are made, nearly a third (29%) claim their company’s actions rarely align with the sustainability ambitions they communicate to stakeholders. SK says that the gap between stated ambition and action continues to expose businesses to the risk of accusations of greenwashing.

Those businesses deemed to be ‘Sustainability Leaders’ (11%) are ahead of the pack when it comes to four key aspects of transparency:

  • Ensuring alignment between sustainable action and ambition
  • Measuring progress on net zero initiatives
  • Communicating effectively to build trust
  • Independent assurance of sustainability performance

Conversely, only 17% of businesses have yet to develop a strategy, whilst 33% are only in the process of developing a strategy.

Commenting on the research findings, Garrett Quinn, Chief Sustainability Officer at Smurfit Kappa, said: “This research highlights how, despite significant ambition across the corporate world, it is often not matched with action, measurement and assurance. By putting these together, you can have a compelling sustainability story backed up with third party assured public disclosures, engaging your stakeholders and removing any greenwashing risk.”