According to 96% of Hungarian companies, a more stable and predictable external environment is a pre-requisite for them to improve their sustainability, and, what is more, nearly all of them agree that the business sector will have a significant influence on the future evolution of sustainability. This data is derived from the annual, statistically-non-representative survey conducted by the Business Council of Sustainable Development in Hungary (BCSDH). The survey provides information about the opinions, experiences and expectations of respondents about the current situation of and trends in sustainable development in Hungary, and gives details about respondents’ performance and targets.
The survey was based on the ’Recommendations for Business leaders: The Complex Interpretation of
Corporate Sustainability’. To continue the tradition (the survey was conducted for the first time in 2013), this is the second year that the BCSDH has examined the Signatories’ experience and performance. This year, beyond collecting information about general trends and accomplishments, the survey had a special focus on the strategic integration of sustainability.
At an event for publicising the findings of the survey, a further 26 companies and business organizations joined the initiative, which already has 102 Signatories.
The most important conclusion that can be drawn from the findings of the survey was that “Sustainable development is clearly occurring, but at the same time the number and difficulty of the challenges that are arising is increasing, and overcoming some of the barriers seems to be more difficult than expected.”- summarised István Salgó, President of the BCSDH.
According to the survey, both globally and locally advances in sustainable development have occurred, but the tendency seems to be for Hungary to be lagging behind. Last year most Respondents articulated a pessimistic view about Hungarian trends, while this year they seem to agree on the fact that positive local trends are similar to global ones, only they are behind schedule and are affecting Hungary more slowly than expected, mostly because of the internal and external barriers to sustainability that exist.
The majority of respondents think that political decision makers, governmental regulation and incentives will have the biggest influence on the future evolution of sustainability. The results may be surprising, but the challenging obstacles that exist might explain these attitudes – we have already seen that the unpredictable and intransparent economic and regulatory environment in Hungary forces companies to engage in short term decision making.
After stressing the role of the government, respondents emphasize the importance of their own (and in general, the influence of the power of all) multinational companies in Hungary. Survey respondents clearly recognize their own role, responsibility and opportunities for hastening the evolution of sustainability, which may of course may be further influenced by shareholders, investors and parent companies.
According to the survey, 81% of the local business sector find executive commitment to be the most important driver of their achievements that are related to taking a strategic approach, followed by shareholder expectations (at 65%). To summarise the survey respondents’ plans for the next 1-3 years, partnerships (92%), responsible management (90%) and taking a strategic approach (85%) are the fields in which respondents believe that they need to improve the most.
“More flexible companies and new business models are indisputably needed. These will be better able to deal with the radical, ongoing changes. But the transformation is a difficult and complex process and CEO commitment, support from shareholders and successful dialogue and partnerships with stakeholders are of key importance.” – emphasized István Salgó.