Preliminary Survey Results Released on CXO Sustainability
COO’s Found to Be Unsung Leaders, More Engagement from CFO’s Desired A new study by the
University of Oregon Sustainability Leadership Program and Newport Consulting Group looks
at sustainability engagement across the C-Suite.
Portland, OR/Clarkston, MI, May 10, 2013 – Today, The University of Oregon Sustainability
Leadership Program and Newport Consulting Group announced the initial findings of their
survey looking to correlate CXO behavior with perceived sustainability performance. Initial results
show that the Chief Operation Officer (COO) may be the unsung hero of sustainability efforts.
The impetus of this survey was to look at the engagement levels across the entire C-Suite at one
time—the first study of its kind as far as the two organizations are aware. Interestingly, the COO
is rarely studied individually, but was recognized in the study as second only to the CEO in terms
of leadership and implementation of sustainability initiatives. CFO’s were the most sought after for
increased engagement (32%) followed closely by the CEO (31%).
Additional preliminary findings include:
1. Sustainability is still a “Lead from the Top” Initiative in Most Organizations. An overwhelming
number of organizations responded that the CEO was the main sponsor for the sustainability
initiative company-wide (49%) followed by ‘green teams’ (25%).
2. Environmental Activities Top Social/Financial Efforts. Sustainability teams are spending more
time on the environmental side of the equation (58% over the past 5-10 years) versus social
(43% over the past 5-10 years) or financial including integrated reporting (24% over the past 5-
3. For Most Companies, the CFO and CIO Have Yet to Engage. Only 18% of CFOs and 11% of the
CIOs were identified as “fully engaged” in an organization’s sustainability efforts.
4. The Importance of the COO’s Role Gets Recognized. While the CEO by far was identified as the
C-suite executive who historically initiated sustainability efforts (58%), the COO was identified as
the next most active executive (19%).
5. Market positioning is a Leading Driver. An overwhelming majority (61%) of participants
indicated that “telling our story as an industry leader” was a primary benefit and effective method
for engaging both inside and outside stakeholders.
A webinar scheduled for Thursday, May 23rd at 10am PT/1pm ET will provide more detail and go
into deeper insights about the survey’s findings. Newport Consulting Group representatives will
be attending the International Society of Sustainability Professionals Conference in Chicago May
9-10, 2013 and are available for meetings and discussions about the survey.
About Newport Consulting Group
Newport Consulting Group is an independent management consulting firm specializing in
strategy, operations, risk management, and technology for commercial, public sector, not for
profit, and high growth organizations. The firm maintains focused service offerings in strategy
management, market growth and entry, program design & oversight, sustainability management,
digital content strategy, and cloud operations management. For more information, please visit the
Sustainability Management page at the firm's website (www.newportconsgroup.com). Inquiries
should reference PR-2013-05-06.
About University of Oregon Sustainability Leadership Program
The University of Oregon Sustainability Leadership Program (SLP) provides practitioners with a
theoretical foundation and practical tools for leading organizations, communities, and individuals
to develop sustainable living and working environments. The Sustainability Leadership Program
was launched in 2003 and has served over 1,500 individuals from more than 450 organizations.
Participants come from a variety of professional backgrounds and represent a broad range of
industries, including government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations,
educational institutions, and other sectors. For more information, visit sustain.uoregon.edu.
Newport Consulting Group
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Denver, CO 80212 USA