To protect reputations, businesses commit to sustainable practices

Over the next five years, businesses in Australia will be under pressure from governments, competitors and customers to become more sustainable. They’re being held back, they say, by a lack of funding, consistent measurement and reporting frameworks, while believing they also need greater knowledge.

Obstacles aside, companies are expecting to invest more in promoting employee wellbeing, encouraging workplace diversity and inclusion, and reducing waste to improve their sustainability practices.

When it comes to making a contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, quality education and wellbeing are seen as the areas where businesses can do the most.

More than two-thirds of Australian companies (67%) see staff wellbeing and mental health as critical to the success of their business. To turn this into action, companies are prioritising flexible working hours and workplace arrangements, mental health cover and extra annual leave.

67 %

More than two-thirds of Australian companies (67%) see staff wellbeing and mental health as critical to the success of their business

Sustainable investment priorities over the next five years

Promote employee health, wellbeing and safety
35%
Encourage workplace diversity and equality
35%
Reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
33%
Improve energy efficiency and source more clean energy
31%
Invest in technology, innovation and infrastructure to improve sustainable production
30%
Invest in technology to monitor supply chain for greater visibility/traceability
26%

Partner/collaborate with suppliers to improve their own sustainability performance 25%
Support charitable, social or community initiatives, locally and/or globally 24%
Report environmental, social and governance footprint/metrics to all stakeholders 17%
Improve sustainable sourcing of more eco-friendly raw materials 17%
None of the above 3%

What you need to know

  1. 1

    The top three motivations for implementing sustainable practices are meeting buyer expectations (34%), meeting regulatory standards (27%) and gaining reputational advantage (25%).

  2. 2

    67% of Australian businesses agree strongly or completely that staff wellbeing and mental health is critical to business success, compared to the global average of 73%.

  3. 3

    61% think they have a role to play in delivering the UN’s SDGs.

What your business can do

  • Make investments that count. In the next five years, 35% of Australian businesses will invest in promoting employee wellbeing and encouraging diversity. 33% are investing in reducing waste.
  • Boost your productivity. 86% of Australian companies are introducing flexible working hours and 73% are increasing the amount of annual leave they offer because they feel it improves morale and boosts productivity.