Sustainable Transformation: Latest Research


Accenture, a leading global professional services company, recently released its research findings into accelerating sustainable transformation. The research aims to dispel old myths and demonstrate the new value of sustainability.

Play It Green has looked at the research and broken it down to bring you the most important findings. Unsurprisingly, the research found that because of perceived trade-offs with profitability, corporate leaders are hesitant to completely commit to sustainability.

Fortunately, the research shows this is simply not the case and that accelerating sustainable transformation generates new sources of profitable growth.

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Sustainable Transformation: Reinventing Sustainable Value

Sustainable transformation is a powerful force for change. Executives recognise its potential to reshape businesses, but they also see a trade-off with profitability, leading to a narrow focus on short-term gains.

This perception makes it challenging to justify integrating environmental and social considerations into corporate decision-making.

Is the trade-off between sustainability and profitability significant or just a misconception?

Business leaders are conflicted. Surprisingly, 98% of CEOs believe it’s their responsibility to make their businesses more sustainable. However, 58% see sustainability in conflict with growth.

Sustainable Transformation: Dispelling the Myths

Sustainable transformation is a growing force reshaping organisations.

Partnering with 140 next-gen leaders from the World Economic Forum, Accenture identified five key headwinds hindering sustainability integration: complexity, cost, speed, reliability, and practicality.

To validate these findings, they engaged 280 senior executives.

Surprisingly, the results revealed that executives perceive pursuing sustainability as relatively slower and more unreliable.

However, they recognise that sticking to ‘business as usual’ is more complex and costlier.

These insights uncover the existence of untapped tailwinds that bolster the case for sustainable transformation.

Sustainable Transformation: A New Approach

Accenture found that next-gen leaders advocate for three crucial updates to integrate environmental and social impact into corporate decision-making:


Pervasive Purpose: Humanise sustainability and determine profitable approaches.

Extended Horizons: Consider long-term viability and allow sustainable initiatives to scale over time.

360° Value: Expand the definition of business success and value and collaborate across the ecosystem and industry to drive change.


On top of this, the research reveals that 70% of executives align with these next-gen leaders’ perspectives.

However, they emphasise the ongoing importance of traditional decision-making norms, such as cost reduction and strong quarterly returns.

67% prioritise these factors when developing sustainable business models.

The fusion of these new decision-making criteria with the traditional business case emerges as the key to unlocking scalable and sustainable growth opportunities.

Sustainable Transformation: Technology to Scale

To achieve sustainable transformation, the updated business case above acts as the guiding compass.

Yet, it is the seamless integration of technology, data, and talent that forms the powerful engine propelling organisations forward.

Executives acknowledge the pivotal role of technology in their sustainability goals.

However, they express uncertainty about its effective use.

Accenture’s 2022 survey of 560 executives revealed that only 49% agreed that technology-led sustainability initiatives foster new businesses, with a mere 48% believing these initiatives result in increased revenues from superior products.

To embark on this transformative journey, companies must establish a robust digital core.

This continuous process harnesses the potential of the cloud to incorporate emerging technologies across three interconnected layers: infrastructure and security, data and AI, and applications and platforms.

This solid foundation unlocks sustainable innovation, dispelling concerns that sustainability compromises profitability.

That’s a Wrap

Technology plays a crucial role, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Furthermore, real change occurs when people embrace it.

To achieve sustainable transformation, companies must embed sustainability into their DNA, fostering a culture where individuals are empowered – even encouraged – to become sustainable innovators.

This goes beyond technology; it encompasses everything they do.

Building new capabilities means guiding employees to adopt new ways of working, processes, and technologies.

It involves developing an understanding of challenges, bringing together diverse collaborators on a large scale, and embracing faster and more immersive change.

Play It Green can support your company in all aspects of sustainability including environmental reporting. We can provide footprint reporting, reduction plans and Net Zero frameworks. Not only that be we will ensure your business culture is one that embraces sustainability. Don’t just take our word for it, ask our members!

Play It Green is an amazing subscription service and we think it offers the best value in the UK.

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  • Profits feel great and are more likely to grow

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