Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility

What we do

Hundreds of clients in nearly 20 countries have benefitted from our data-driven analysis, practical insights, and methodologies to address sustainability and corporate responsibility in their organizations. We work to ensure that sustainability efforts are anchored in business fundamentals and demonstrate a clear return on investment—and that those efforts are then firmly embedded within our clients' strategy and operations.

Our clients in the private, public and social sectors have become more sustainable and socially responsible by implementing renewable energy policies and managing sustainable supply chains, by building the knowledge and capabilities to prepare for and respond to changing regulations, and by developing approaches to address key social issues across their employees, their customers and the broader community.

Bain's credibility in fostering meaningful social change comes not only from our deep experience in the field, but also from tackling many of the same issues in our own organization. We are committed to increasing our social and public sector involvement and making our own sustainability a firm-wide endeavor.

Read more about our project expertise in and approach to sustainability and corporate responsibility on Bain's social impact site.

Our perspective

Sustainability encompasses all aspects of sustainable business practices, addressing relevant social, environmental, regulatory and human-welfare issues responsibly and profitably. Suppliers, employees, customers, shareholders, governments and communities all have specific agendas that need to be understood and managed. Companies need to take control of their sustainability agenda before others try to do it for them. Doing so also means accepting responsibility for the full value chain, not just a company's direct footprint.

Buttressing the idea that sustainability is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for profitable growth are such indicators as a recent study showing that at least two-thirds of 25,000 consumers in the US, Canada and Western Europe form impressions based partly on a company's ethics, environmental impact and social responsibility—or that over 60% of employees state that a company's commitment to sustainable business practices is "extremely important."

Bain's experience in guiding clients in this increasingly important strategic area shows that:

The first step for companies is to prioritize their sustainability issues—which are not necessarily the issues in the headlines in any given week. Companies will have different sustainability issues rise to the forefront based on their industry, their strategy and operations and their geographical footprint, among other considerations. Sustainability issues need to be evaluated through additional lenses, including the implications of new regulations on your business, the cost (or savings) of addressing the issue, the impact on customer demand for your products or services and how it affects your ability to recruit and retain employees.

The second step in managing sustainability is ensuring that any moves make strategic sense and are backed up by sound business cases. In other words, by integrating sustainability decisions with traditional analysis, companies can figure out how to gain a competitive advantage over the long term.

Read more about Bain's viewpoint in our "Growth through sustainability" brief, presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.