Business sustainability is largely driven by
regulatory compliance, with UK based organisations leading its
implementation, according to a joint study by UK and North American
accountancy institutes.

In the report Evolution of corporate
sustainability practices
, The Chartered Institute of
Management Accountants (CIMA), the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered
Accountants (CICA) interviewed sustainability executives in all
three countries

According to combined results, 34% of large
companies said compliance with regulatory standards was the main
driver for adopting sustainability practices followed by managing
reputational risk at 32%.

For SMEs regulatory compliance was also at the
top of the list with 29% followed by cost cutting efficiency at

The survey also revealed that UK companies are
ahead of North America in implementing sustainability practices.
According to the data gathered by CIMA 88% of the surveyed large UK
companies have a sustainability strategy in place compared to only
61% of companies surveyed by the AICPA.

SMEs, while slightly behind mostly plan to
launch a sustainability practice in the next year or two according
to survey results.

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The survey interviewed sustainability
executives from 2,036 companies to examine key characteristics of
business sustainability and the level of finance function
involvement in corporate sustainability initiatives.