29 Mar 2021

Seismic Impact Survey

By Amy Bourbeau

Interim Results: Takeaways and Actionable Insights

As part of its focus on helping organisations prosper by becoming a good, Seismic is undertaking market research into companies’ social and environmental impact journeys by surveying leaders of private sector businesses.

The interim findings as at 26 March 2021 give a snapshot of the current picture, as well as some clearly defined trends. The survey will conclude in August 2021.

Business Drivers for Sustainability

95% of those surveyed reported that brand was the #1 driver. A further 56% cited business development opportunities, whilst 31% were responding to customer pressure.

These views are supported by statistics that show high-purpose brands will double their market value more than four times faster than low-purpose brands, creating much higher levels of total shareholder returns (IR Magazine’s 2020 Corporate Study).

Companies also recognised talent acquisition, with 34% of respondees stating it as a driver. It’s known that millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and that newer generations seek a deeper sense of connection in the workplace (source). Forward thinking companies will position their sustainability strategy front and centre when connecting with newer generations to develop their talent pipeline and retain staff.

Challenges and Opportunities

The two main challenges identified by nearly 70% of the survey group were competing priorities and a lack of resources. These are perennial issues, and the question facing these companies is how to best allocate the resources available. They may choose to leverage external B Corp and Net Zero expertise, either from other partners or peers.

Sustainability Action

The research captured the baseline data for where the companies were on their respective sustainability and impact journeys.

  • B Corp: Nearly 80% of respondents were either already a Certified B Corp, mid certification or intending to become one. The global pandemic has further reinforced why being a B Corp makes sense: B Lab (the not-for-profit which certifies B Corps) observed that its mission-locked businesses outperformed their non-certified peers.
  • Net Zero: Nearly 76% of respondents were intending to or had already embarked on their Net Zero journey. This showed an exceptionally high level of awareness and commitment to action for businesses being responsible in doing their part to tackle the #ClimateEmergency and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #13 Climate Action.

Movements for Collective Action to Move the Dial

The companies surveyed were already making significant progress on their respective sustainability and impact journeys. However, they could amplify this further through connecting with the relevant B Corp and Net Zero movements for collective action (if they have not done so already).

In addition to this, there are synergies between the B Corp and Net Zero movements, including work on the Net Zero journey often helping companies to earn points towards their B Impact Assessment (BIA). There is also a growing B Corp Climate Collective (BCCC) which is part of the United Nation’s #RacetoZero campaign, enabling companies to contribute to a wider movement ahead of the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Autumn 2021.

Next Steps:

The survey will continue until August 2021 when the full results will be published. To participate please see: https://bit.ly/2NUNBjR.