WESEL, Germany, – The current Industry Innovation Index study carried out by the Forsa institute on behalf of the specialty chemicals group ALTANA proves that there is a correlation between sustainability and innovative strength in German industry. According to the study, companies with a sustainable commitment to economic, social and environmental aspects have above-average innovative strength.

Fifty-seven percent of the managers surveyed considered sustainability to be very important for a company’s innovative power. Among entry-level professionals, it was even higher at 62%.

Many companies do not fully exploit the potential of sustainability measures. Special action needs to be taken when it comes to developing products that make a contribution to environmental and climate protection across the entire value chain. “Not only is a sustainable, foresighted perspective needed, but also innovative strength that combines new solutions for resource and climate protection with economic benefits,” said ALTANA’s CEO Martin Babilas.

Another important factor enabling a company to push ahead sustainability is making employees aware of the issue. Of all the essential measures that contribute to the sustainability of a company, for example health and safety protection or the use of renewable energies, a sustainability culture is the least pronounced in the companies surveyed. Yet according to the study, resource protection and social commitment are so important to about three quarters of entry-level professionals that their choice of employer is also based on these criteria.

“Companies could tap this potential to strengthen their own innovativeness. The key is the consistent promotion of talented employees,” said Babilas.

The study was initiated in the spring of 2016 when Forsa conducted 500 telephone interviews with representatives of companies that have at least 250 employees. Interviews were conducted with 250 management board members, general managers and division heads. In parallel, the research firm surveyed 250 entry-level employees in companies aged 18 to 35 who had one to five years of professional experience.