Boyden Research Sees Asia-Pacific Ahead in Sustainability Leadership


Highest number of Chief Sustainability Officers, robust investment and priority skills at executive and board level

SYDNEY, Australia and MUMBAI, India and TAIPEI, Taiwan, Oct. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boyden, a premier global leadership and talent advisory firm, reports on its annual global executive talent research with a regional analysis on Asia-Pacific. Findings reveal an incisive and world-leading focus on sustainability in terms of skills, growth, investment and culture.

The global study, Exploring Adaptivity through Strategy and Talent, analyses perspectives on risk among CEOs, boards and other senior leaders, alongside executive talent trends, priorities and investment.

As business leaders worldwide strive to achieve sustainability-led organisations, findings in Asia-Pacific show that 29 percent of respondents have a Chief Sustainability Officer, compared with 12 percent in Europe and 11 percent in North America.

Allan Marks, Managing Partner, Boyden Australia, comments, “The focus on sustainability and ESG underscores the growing recognition of sustainability as a catalyst for growth and corporate responsibility within the Asia-Pacific business arena. Clients in the industrial sector are beginning to perceive sustainability as a growth driver and are actively investing in leadership development and recruiting new leadership talent to tackle resourcing challenges and maintain competitiveness”.

Skills in sustainability are among the top three priorities for strengthening skills at board and executive level to capitalise on growth through ‘sustainability opportunities’. This ranked bottom among growth drivers in 2022, and for 25 percent of respondents is now a top three driver of growth, as consumers show a strong appetite for sustainable products and ESG-related brands.

Shalini Kandhari, Partner, Boyden India, adds, “In the consumer and retail sector in India, leaders’ standout quality is adaptability. They are formulating strategies for sustainable supply chains and eco-friendly product lines to reduce their carbon footprint, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. This is fostering a fusion of tradition and modernity in retail experiences, as leaders focus on digital payments, omnichannel strategies, and eco-friendly packaging”.

Other key findings reveal a stronger global perspective in the region: 72 percent are extremely likely or likely to hire more globally-focused executives, compared with a 47 percent global average. Global growth is a stronger driver of structural change in Asia-Pacific than regional growth, at 37 percent compared with 29 percent respectively.

William J. Farrell, Managing Partner, Taiwan and South Korea explains, “Boards in Asia-Pacific companies are adapting to shifting dynamics, including slower growth in China and the push for non-Chinese suppliers. They recognise opportunities for improved market positioning and growth by responding effectively, including a pronounced emphasis on recruiting global talent. Such talent is instrumental in meeting evolving supply chain demands and ensuring the leadership of more competitive and internationally effective teams”.

For sustainability investment, 81 percent of President/CEOs think their organisation is investing sufficiently, compared with the global average of 58 percent. Culturally, significant progress shows 56 percent of respondents in Asia-Pacific reporting ESG ‘deeply embedded in organisational culture’ or ‘part of most business decisions,’ up from 44 percent in 2022.

Read the full report: Asia-Pacific Regional Analysis 2023: Exploring adaptivity through strategy and talent.

About the research

This research was conducted in Q2 2023. More than 200 responses were captured in Asia-Pacific, where respondents are 20 percent board/president/CEOs; 14 percent tech/digital leaders; the remainder are operations, finance, HR, marketing & sales leaders and partners.

About Boyden

Boyden is a premier leadership and talent advisory firm with more than 70 offices in over 45 countries. Our global reach enables us to serve client needs anywhere they conduct business. We connect great companies with great leaders through executive search, interim management and leadership consulting solutions. Boyden is ranked amongst the top companies on Forbes’ Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms for 2023.

/Public Release.