Sustainable Value Creation

Closing the gap between stated commitments and operational realities

New research conducted by sustainability experts Dr. Robert Eccles and Alison Taylor, in partnership with GlobeScan and Salesforce, identifies a major barrier to value creation: most enterprises have not yet fully integrated sustainability across all the C-suite functions.

We surveyed senior leaders across sustainability, finance, and technology to identify four major gaps that stand in the way of making sustainability meaningful to corporate strategy.


The capital gap is the shortfall between the needed funds for sustainability efforts and the actual available capital. Despite recognizing sustainability’s importance, only about half of senior management teams receive enough funding to address these needs.

Integration Gap

The integration gap refers to limited collaboration hindering sustainability progress. Insufficient capital and alignment among teams hinder sustainability integration into core business functions, like finance and technology, reducing opportunities for understanding commercial benefits.

Implementation Gap

The implementation gap arises because companies prioritize reputation over operations. As a result, it becomes difficult to connect sustainability with financial worth.

Data Gap

The data gap emerges from poor data quality on sustainability performance. A lack of quality data makes it difficult to effectively analyze the value of sustainability and comply with new reporting standards.

The purpose of this research was to:

  • Gain a better understanding of how companies view sustainability as a driver for creating value
  • Identify the challenges senior leaders face in incorporating sustainability into their business model 
  • Evaluate the progress made in integrating sustainability within finance and technology functions

Report Contributors

Alison Taylor

Alison Taylor, a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Stern School of Business and Executive Director at Ethical Systems, previously served as Managing Director at BSR and Senior Managing Director at Control Risks. She advises VentureESG, BSR, Pictet Group, and KKR, and is on the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Good Governance. With expertise in strategy, sustainability, risk, culture, human rights, and ethics, her book “Higher Ground: How Business Can Do the Right Thing in a Turbulent World” is forthcoming from Harvard Business Review Press (Feb 2024). Alison holds degrees from Balliol College, Oxford University, University of Chicago, and Columbia University.

Robert G. Ecccles

Robert G. Eccles is a renowned expert in ESG, sustainability, and sustainable investing, with a focus on addressing climate change. As a Visiting Professor at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, he bridges academia and industry. Formerly, Eccles held positions at Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management. He chairs KKR’s Sustainability Expert Advisory Council, co-chairs Novata’s ESG Advisory Council, advises Persefoni’s Sustainability Advisory Board, and leads the Unscripted Cast Advocacy Network. Eccles earned bachelor’s degrees from MIT and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in sociology.

Report Sponsor


Salesforce, the #1 CRM for nine years in a row, is enabling companies of every size and industry to digitally transform and connect with their customers in a whole new way. Customer 360, our portfolio of technology and services, unites teams through a single view of customer data and realtime insights that improve connectivity, efficiency, and productivity — all while creating personalized customer experiences. We lead with our core values of trust, customer success, innovation, equality, and sustainability, and we are proud to be recognized as a leader in innovation, culture, and philanthropy.