The most popular Australian business category in the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s “What the money is really worth” report is: “Sustainability”.
The study, which has been released just days after the United States and Japan were rocked by earthquakes, says the category is on the rise.
While there has been a drop in the share of businesses that are “environmentally sustainable”, it remains high, with about 85 per cent of respondents stating they would consider doing business with a business that is.
The survey, which covers the most common global industries, also found that a whopping 92 per cent (731) of respondents were at least “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with their businesses’ environmental performance.
“There has been an increase in the use of social media to communicate the importance of sustainability, particularly with regard to business, and that has certainly been reflected in this survey,” Mr Burt said.
“Sustainable businesses have also been growing in popularity in other countries, especially in Europe and Asia.”
He said that while there was “a lot of optimism” about sustainable businesses in Australia, it was a question of “building trust and understanding” for businesses and consumers.
Mr Boudreaux said there was a growing appetite for sustainable business in Australia.
“We are seeing the emergence of a new breed of business that, as well as being socially responsible, is also environmentally sustainable,” he said.
Businesses looking to invest in sustainability “are really interested in seeing how we can make their business more sustainable,” Mr Muth, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce, said.
He said there were some businesses that had already shown a willingness to invest heavily in sustainability and would have a positive impact on the environment.
“One of the things that we’ve seen is a rise in sustainability investments in the last few years.
There are many more companies in Australia now that are looking at sustainability,” Mr Vass said.
The World Economic Foundation report, which includes data on over 10,000 businesses, found that there was an increase of about 2.4 per cent in the number of businesses in the “sustainable business” category from 2017 to 2018.
The sector was “overwhelmingly” represented by the manufacturing and services sectors, and the financial services sector, while there were “little” growth in other sectors.
The report also found there were about 2,200 new sustainable businesses that were started in 2018, a drop of about 40 per cent compared with 2017.
“With the economic crisis, the sector’s focus shifted from growth to sustainability, and in that context, the Australian economy has not been doing particularly well in the global market,” Mr Grewal said.