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Vodafone Business releases Fit for the Future U.S. report

13 Dec 2022

Latest “Fit for the Future” report shows that sustainability – good for the planet – delivers tangible benefits – good for business – for U.S. organizations

Sustainability, once a “nice to have” goal for businesses, is now a strategic priority for businesses as consumers demand, and investors reward, responsible operations. For U.S. businesses, that priority is now considered a competitive advantage, as more than 60% of U.S. firms cite sustainability as a potential differentiator, and more than half (55%) have made it a strategic goal. This – and other findings – come from the latest “Fit for the Future” report from Vodafone Business.

Conducted in partnership with B2B International, “Fit for the Future” explores business leaders' attitudes and actions regarding sustainability, innovation, and resilience from a survey of 301 organizations in the U.S. Using these responses, Vodafone qualifies organizations as “Fit for the Future” by scoring them against their peers for measures such as speed-to-market, embrace of change, detailed strategic planning, openness to new technologies, and currency with emerging trends.

This year, 27% of U.S. firms surveyed achieved “Fit for the Future” status – higher than the global level of 22% of organizations. And being on that leading edge is delivering tangible, bottom-line business impact, including:

  • Higher profits today - Six of ten U.S. FFTF firms have higher profits than a year ago, compared with 51% of non-FFTF firms. 
  • Forecast is bright - 83% of FFTF firms in the U.S. forecast higher earnings over the next five years, compared with 71% for non-FFTF U.S. firms. 

Sustainability as a driver for success

Sustainability played a pivotal role in the higher “Fit for the Future” ranking for the U.S., revealing it as a strategic, operational, and competitive priority capable of helping businesses become more durable, resilient, and – potentially – more profitable. Additionally, half of U.S. firms surveyed say environmental sustainability has helped improve their financial performance (aligning with global levels).

Firms already implementing sustainability practices into their business plan realize significant benefits, as 47% of those U.S. businesses surveyed reporting higher profits this year have a formal ESG program in place – significantly higher than firms reporting lower profits, where around 1 in 5 (22%) have such programs in place.

Additionally, U.S. firms are more optimistic than their counterparts worldwide about their ability to make measurable progress on sustainability over the next ten years. More than seven out of ten say progress should be “quite” or “fairly” straightforward, compared to 63% globally. The most critical areas where U.S. firms say technology breakthroughs will be needed include adopting renewable energy (44%), reducing energy consumption from digital devices (37%), and more organic or biodegradable packaging materials (36%), and

“Sustainability is both at once a simple and complex idea for businesses,” said David Joosten, CEO of Vodafone US. “For some, it is about adopting operational standards and processes that promote resiliency, predictability, and profitability across the global enterprise. For others, it is about understanding and mitigating climate impacts by reducing carbon footprints, emissions, and other environmental impacts. At Vodafone, we believe sustainability can embody both definitions as both a purposeful way of doing business that promotes durability, resiliency, and responsibility and an intentional strategy capable of promoting innovation, delivering competitive advantage, and driving growth.”

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