Sustainability goals beat financial performance, according to a new Honeywell survey

October 26, 2022, 9:57 AM UTC
Updated October 26, 2022, 7:16 PM UTC
Darius Adamczyk, chief executive officer of Honeywell International Inc.
Darius Adamczyk, chief executive officer of Honeywell, during an interview in New York, Nov. 16, 2017.
Christopher Goodney—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Good morning.

I continue to fail in my effort to find companies backing off of their ESG commitments. Despite predictions of pending recession and despite political pushback, big companies continue to focus on ways to improve their social and environmental impact.

“I found it to be almost remarkable,” said Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk, whose company last week published a new index designed to track sustainability actions by companies. “Attaining sustainability goals came out ahead of financial performance as a concern for North American companies.”

I asked Adamczyk whether he thought that could be true—that companies are focusing more on sustainability than on financial performance. “I can only believe what the data tell us,” he said. “This shows how important this has become in everybody’s agendas. I don’t see that changing.”

The Honeywell survey also showed that while companies feel good about the progress they have made in the past 12 months, “they feel less optimistic about the next 12 months.” That may reflect concerns, Adamczyk said, about whether the technology yet exists to make the next great leap in the energy transformation.

You can learn more about the Honeywell index here.

Also this morning, on this week’s episode of Leadership Next, we bring you some of the best interviews from the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Among the gems was this from recently appointed TIAA CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett:

“When I think about the last 18 months, you know, I like to say I’m jealous of me. And I’m jealous of me because I get to surround myself with incredible people. I’m jealous of me because over the last 18 months, I got to get really clear on who we are and what we’re here to do. We exist to secure retirement for millions of Americans. And when you think about the problem that still has to be solved, that 40% of Americans will run out of money in retirement—especially when you think about the economy, which I know we’ll get to—I’m jealous of me because I get to be at the table, I get to make impact. And when I think about the headwinds, I feel like, challenge accepted, because if not me, then who? And the opportunity to drive this company forward on a transformational agenda, the opportunity to make positive impact, just aligns with who I am.“

You can listen to the full episode on Apple or Spotify. Other news below. And don’t miss Fortune’s new list of the fastest growing companies, here.

Alan Murray


Tech slump

Alphabet’s and Microsoft’s latest quarterly results point to a slowdown in both the search advertising and cloud sectors, which were previously seen as relatively resilient against the wider economic downturn. Alphabet’s 6% growth in Q3 revenues—analysts hoped for 9%—marked its slowest growth rate in nearly a decade. The two companies saw their share prices fall around 6.7% in after-hours trading, with sentiment also whacking other Big Tech firms such as Meta and Amazon, albeit to a slightly smaller degree. Financial Times

Xinjiang cotton

A court case began in the U.K. yesterday that could see the British government forced to step up investigations of cotton products entering the country, to check they weren’t made using forced labor in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The case was brought by activists for the rights of the heavily oppressed Uyghur community in that region. Guardian

Hardly knew Ye

Adidas has finally cut ties with Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, over his rampant bigotry. The apparel firm will probably lose nearly $250 million this year alone, owing to the decision. And Gap, which already ended its Yeezy partnership last month, is now destocking all remaining items from its collaboration with the rapper, ahead of a planned cutoff date in the first half of next year. Fortune


He sprayed on Bella Hadid’s dress in that viral stunt. Now the inventor of fabric-in-a-can wants to revolutionize fashion’s slow, dirty supply chain, by Ian Mount

The biggest corporate victim of Europe’s energy crisis may be a $93 billion chemical giant whose flagship plant uses as much gas as Switzerland, by David Meyer

Europe now has too much gas. Here’s how the continent dodged Putin’s energy squeeze so far, by Christiaan Hetzner

Housing market activity is crashing—and it threatens to push the U.S. into recession just like it did in 1981 and 2008, by Lance Lambert

A crisis worse than COVID? This 30-year-old statistician is responsible for spotting the next mega-threat to global business, by Vivienne Walt

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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