Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate economist once wrote an article stating that “the only social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” As the world emerges from the pandemic and enters a new era, that view has been replaced by a broader mission for business: to enrich all corporate stakeholders by contributing to the health and wellbeing of people and the planet.
NTT and ThoughtLab conducted a comprehensive study of 500 companies across seven industries and eight world markets to understand this corporate mandate and how firms achieve it. The study examined how firms incorporate sustainability into their business strategies and plans and the outcomes they are seeing. Crucially, it analyzed how they are leveraging digital innovation to achieve their social, environmental, and economic goals.
As part of the research, we grouped companies into three maturity categories based on their progress against a framework of 10 initiatives for driving sustainable innovation (see appendix). This framework enabled our research team to investigate the business approaches and digital solutions that help sustainability leaders achieve their goals. It also allowed us to identify a roadmap to sustainability excellence and the steps firms take along their journey. This report presents the key findings of our research and shares valuable insights that will help others follow the path that leaders have created.