According to a recent study conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group, 31 percent of the companies they surveyed say focusing on sustainability activities is contributing to their profits.
This group, referred to in the study as the embracers or "harvesters," are 2.5 times more likely to have a chief sustainability officer; twice as likely to have an active company sustainability program; and twice as likely to have specific sustainability reporting systems in place, compared to "non-harvesters," also known as the "cautious adopters."
Cautious adopters, according to the study, are those companies that have yet to recognize the financial benefits of sustainability.
So enthusiastic about the benefits of sustainability, 57 percent of the harvesters also indicate their companies have prepared a business case for sustainability. This compares to only 18 percent of the non-harvesters.
The study involved more than 2,800 corporate leaders working with such well-known corporate giants as GE, Duke Energy, Campbell Soup, Kimberly-Clark and Walmart.
Among other items the study revealed were the following:
• Two-thirds of those surveyed indicated their focus and investment in sustainability rose from 2010 to 2011.
• Seventy percent have placed sustainability permanently on the management agenda.
• Fifty-five percent agreed with the statement "sustainability is necessary for competitiveness."

"The study also indicates that corporate sustainability is now reaching a tipping point," says Stephen Ashkin, CEO of The Sustainability Dashboard. "This means that a significant number of firms are now realizing the financial benefits of sustainable activities."