New NTT Global Survey: Sustainability is Improving the Bottom Line for 44 Percent of Organizations

Enhanced efficiency, innovation and revenue growth are among the top benefits of sustainability initiatives

TOKYO – February 22, 2022 – NTT today published the results of a global corporate sustainability survey designed to identify the most effective business practices to advance sustainability goals. In a report titled, “Innovating for a Sustainable Future,” NTT, in partnership with ThoughtLab, found that 44 percent of companies experience improved profitability as a result of sustainability. This indicates that sustainability programs are now both an ethical and a business imperative to drive positive change and deliver better financial results. Additionally, 69 percent of global executives agree that digital innovation is key to achieving sustainability goals across environmental, social and economic areas.

Study Highlights

The global study of 500 companies examines how firms incorporate sustainability into their business strategies and the outcomes they are experiencing. Key highlights include:

  • The survey finds that now more than ever, organizations are taking sustainability practices seriously. Of the organizations surveyed, 68 percent report that building a sustainable future is a top priority for their boards.
  • The pandemic proved to be a watershed moment for many organizations, with 47 percent stating that the pandemic elevated the importance of sustainability goals.
  • Among the top benefits as a result of sustainability initiatives, 33 percent of organizations experience decreased costs through improved efficiencies, 32 percent experience greater innovation and/or new business models and 24 percent experience increased revenue growth.
  • Only 12 percent of organizations worldwide indicate that sustainability is mostly “lip service” and nearly four out of ten companies state that customers, employees, shareholders and communities expect them to drive positive change.

“As the global population refocuses its attention on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet, we have seen a renewed commitment from organizations to implement and advance sustainable business practices,” said Vito Mabrucco, Head of Global Marketing at NTT. “At the same time, the health of people versus the health of profits is not an either-or-decision; sustainability and profitability are becoming mutually reliant.”

The report defines “sustainable development” in accordance with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for creating a more sustainable future by 2030. NTT has aligned its business objectives with these SDGs, which cover three key categories: social good, environment, and economic growth and development.

As part of the survey, NTT and ThoughtLab grouped companies into three maturity categories (beginners, intermediates and advanced/leaders) based on their progress within a framework of 10 initiatives for driving sustainable innovation, including:

  • Develop a vision, strategy, implementation plan and budget.
  • Develop an effective organizational structure, skills and resources.
  • Communicate goals to all stakeholders: investors, customers and employees.
  • Set, track and report metrics for sustainability performance.
  • Drive supply chain efficiency and operational innovation.
  • Lead product and service innovation.
  • Embrace business model innovation.
  • Harness advanced digital technology.
  • Integrate sustainability goals and metrics into investment decisions.
  • Utilize a commonly used measurement framework (such as GRI, SASB or TCFD).

Looking exclusively at the achievements from leaders, NTT has outlined a set of best practices based off of the analysis of the study to help organizations achieve their sustainability goals. These best practices include:

  1. Build the foundation for sustainability excellence. Set a clear sustainability vision, strategy and organizational structure; monitor performance against sustainability metrics; and incorporate sustainability deep into the business.
  2. Harness digital innovation to drive sustainability results. For leaders, sustainability and digital innovation are two sides of the same coin. Leaders draw more on digital technologies, particularly the cloud, AI and IoT, and understand that the best results come from interconnecting them.
  3. Build partnerships that work together to deliver on common sustainability goals. Leaders not only work more closely with supply chains; they also develop ties with a wider range of partners, from multilateral organizations and NGOs to industry and consumer groups.

The publishing of the study coincides with the launch of NTT’s Innovation for a Sustainable Future program. Designed to showcase the positive impact of technology, digital transformation and R&D to deliver sustainability and social benefits, the program outlines the intersection of technology innovation and the need for long term sustainability. As part of the program, NTT will provide organizations with information and resources to implement sustainability practices through strategic technology investments and innovation. The goal is for organizations of all sizes to contribute to long-term sustainability that positively impacts people, the planet and prosperity. To view the full Innovating for a Sustainable Future report, click here.

NTT’s Innovation for a Sustainable Future program follows NTT’s August 2021 launch of a worldwide initiative calling on stakeholders to rethink the importance of health and wellbeing. In collaboration with business divisions NTT DATA, NTT Ltd., NTT Research and NTT Disruption, the initiative offers ideas and resources designed to help governments, communities and organizations reexamine their approach to personal health, mental health and social health, worker wellness and equitable access to support a more sustainable future. For more information about NTT’s Health and Wellbeing initiative, please click here.


To determine how organizations are incorporating sustainability into their business strategies as well as the outcomes of those implementations, NTT and ThoughtLab conducted a comprehensive survey of executives from 500 companies across seven industries and eight world markets from September – October 2021.

About NTT

NTT believes in resolving social issues through our business operations by applying technology for good. We help clients accelerate growth and innovate for current and new business models. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data center and networks, all supported by our deep industry expertise and innovation. As a top 5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse teams operate in 80+ countries and regions and deliver services to over 190 of them. We serve over 80% of Fortune Global 100 companies and thousands of other clients and communities around the world. For more information on NTT, visit


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