The sustainability of businesses, people and the planet are top of mind across the world. Every organization is being challenged by their customers and their governments to address the impact they’re having on the world around them. Contributing to the sustainability of people and the planet is quickly becoming a social license to operate. Fortunately, for many family businesses, the drive for sustainability is already a road well-traveled. And the potential benefits of being a sustainable business have been clear for a long time...

We believe their experiences and the progress they’re making on the road to sustainability can be instructive and an inspiration for other leaders to follow. With this in mind, KPMG Private Enterprise and the STEP Project Global Consortium came together to take a closer look at the routes to sustainability that family businesses are taking. We listened to their stories and learned from their experiences in a series of interviews and group discussions with family business leaders across the world. Then we added to their practical insights with a detailed analysis of the sustainability performance data from our previous global survey of 2,439 family business leaders who were represented in the global family business report “The regenerative power of family businesses."

Sustainability is a business imperative

Stakeholder capitalism is on the rise

It’s becoming clear that no company can thrive – or even survive – without paying attention to the well-being of people and the planet.

Sustainability is about creating shared value. And it’s that strong foundation that many family businesses are built on. Creating shared value for all their stakeholders is part of their DNA. And they’re bringing the concept of stakeholder value into the mainstream – for their customers, employees, communities, the environment and society as a whole.

Sustainability is also now a business imperative for long-term growth and prosperity. And for gaining a competitive advantage. Companies that fail to adapt may struggle to compete in a new, low-carbon world.

For many family businesses, the drive to sustainability is already a road well-traveled. It’s embedded in the families’ values and in their business models, and an important part of the family’s legacy because each generation is expected to pass on more than what it receives. It’s also why we believe that family businesses have the opportunity to guide the path to sustainability for others to follow.

Eight keys for unlocking the sustainability of your business

The family business leaders who contributed to this report revealed eight keys that business families use to unlock their sustainability performance.
Click below to explore the eight keys.

Family business leaders highlight three interconnected goals

Three interconnected goals
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Explore unique stories from family business leaders

Learn more about some of the family business leaders who contributed to this report and their companies’ sustainability journeys.

Family business interviews


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Family business profiles


Doing what’s right for generations to come

The sustainability journey is not an easy or a quick one. It takes time and the right people to support, explain and promote the initiatives and potential changes, as well as the support of the owning family, the board and the leadership team.

For many, the starting point has been to engage family members from every generation – as well as independent board members – to map out the practical steps that can be taken to weave sustainability throughout the business strategy and to do so in a way that will have a meaningful and lasting impact


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