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Sustainability in the C-Suite

According to Korn/Ferry International, close to three-quarters of executives are willing to sacrifice at least one percent of their salaries to fund their companies green initiatives.
The greatest number of respondents (40 percent) would be willing to forgo between one and two percent of their salaries. Though a small minority, three percent of respondents would be willing to sacrifice upwards of 10 percent of their salaries. Meanwhile, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of executives would be unwilling to sacrifice any portion of their salary to support sustainability efforts.

When asked about current resources their employers have dedicated to green issues, almost half (49 percent) of executives report that their companies have allocated existing staff, hired new staff, or done both. Today, this often includes introducing Chief Sustainability Officers into the C-suite. Fifty percent of executives who responded say their company has not allocated any resources to sustainability efforts.

Clearly, the high number of executives willing to personally contribute to their companys green initiatives signals a change in thinking around the importance of sustainability today, said Jay Millen, senior client partner with Korn/Ferry International. While there is room for much progress, we are seeing companies dedicate top talent and resources to promoting sustainability and corporate responsibility.

Interestingly, 69 percent of the respondents believe that green initiatives will take a back seat to profit-driven activities in these uncertain economic times. However, 29 percent believe that the current economic situation will not have an effect on going green.

Finally, more than three-quarters of these executives (78 percent) consider their employer at least somewhat environmentally-sensitive, while another 18 percent do not believe their company to be environmentally sensitive at all.