Check out our FREE Resources page – Download complimentary business frameworks, PowerPoint templates, whitepapers, and more.







Flevy Management Insights Q&A
How are sustainability considerations affecting the M&A landscape?


This article provides a detailed response to: How are sustainability considerations affecting the M&A landscape? For a comprehensive understanding of M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions), we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) best practice resources.

TLDR Sustainability considerations are reshaping the M&A landscape by influencing Strategy Development, due diligence, and Risk Management, driving organizations to integrate ESG factors for long-term value creation.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Sustainability considerations are increasingly becoming a pivotal factor in the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) landscape. This shift is driven by a growing recognition of the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in assessing the long-term value and risk profile of investment opportunities. Organizations are now integrating sustainability into their Strategic Planning and due diligence processes, not only to mitigate risks but also to capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth.

Impact of Sustainability on M&A Strategy

Organizations are reevaluating their M&A strategies to include sustainability as a core component. This involves conducting thorough ESG due diligence to identify potential risks and opportunities associated with environmental regulations, social practices, and governance structures of target companies. A report by PwC highlighted that ESG factors are becoming critical in the valuation process, with 83% of investors in 2020 considering ESG issues in their investment strategies, up from 70% in 2019. This shift is prompting companies to reassess their portfolios and consider divestitures or acquisitions that align with their sustainability goals.

Furthermore, the integration of sustainability into M&A strategy facilitates the identification of synergies that can enhance Operational Excellence and drive long-term value creation. For example, acquiring a company with advanced green technologies can accelerate an organization's progress towards its sustainability objectives, while also opening up new market opportunities. This strategic alignment is crucial for organizations looking to thrive in a business environment that increasingly values sustainability.

Additionally, sustainability considerations are influencing the financing of M&A transactions. Financial institutions and investors are increasingly scrutinizing the sustainability credentials of organizations, affecting the availability and terms of financing. Companies with strong ESG frameworks are often viewed as lower risk, which can lead to more favorable financing conditions. This trend underscores the importance of embedding sustainability into the core of M&A strategy to secure financial and strategic advantages.

Learn more about Operational Excellence Due Diligence Value Creation

Are you familiar with Flevy? We are you shortcut to immediate value.
Flevy provides business best practices—the same as those produced by top-tier consulting firms and used by Fortune 100 companies. Our best practice business frameworks, financial models, and templates are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience.

Trusted by over 10,000+ Client Organizations
Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 10,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes, from startups and small businesses to the Fortune 100, in over 130 countries.
AT&T GE Cisco Intel IBM Coke Dell Toyota HP Nike Samsung Microsoft Astrazeneca JP Morgan KPMG Walgreens Walmart 3M Kaiser Oracle SAP Google E&Y Volvo Bosch Merck Fedex Shell Amgen Eli Lilly Roche AIG Abbott Amazon PwC T-Mobile Broadcom Bayer Pearson Titleist ConEd Pfizer NTT Data Schwab

Due Diligence and Risk Management

The role of due diligence in M&A transactions is evolving to encompass comprehensive assessments of ESG factors. This expanded focus helps organizations identify potential sustainability-related risks that could impact the financial performance or reputation of the target company. For instance, regulatory compliance issues, environmental liabilities, or social governance scandals can pose significant risks. Conducting thorough ESG due diligence enables organizations to make informed decisions and develop strategies to mitigate these risks.

Moreover, sustainability due diligence is increasingly seen as a tool for uncovering hidden value in target companies. By evaluating the sustainability practices and potential of a company, acquirers can identify opportunities for Operational Excellence, cost savings, and revenue growth. For example, a target company's commitment to reducing carbon emissions may lead to operational efficiencies and open up new markets for green products.

Risk Management in the context of M&A also extends to the integration phase, where sustainability considerations can influence the success of the merger or acquisition. Ensuring that the combined entity adheres to high standards of sustainability can mitigate risks related to culture clashes, employee retention, and brand reputation. Effective integration of sustainability practices can also drive innovation and enhance the competitive advantage of the merged entity.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage Employee Retention Revenue Growth

Real-World Examples and Market Trends

Several high-profile M&A transactions have demonstrated the growing importance of sustainability considerations. For instance, the acquisition of The Body Shop by Natura Cosmeticos was largely driven by the alignment of their sustainability values and commitments to ethical business practices. Similarly, Unilever's acquisition of Seventh Generation highlighted the strategic move towards sustainable product lines.

Market trends indicate that sustainability-driven M&A activity is set to increase. According to Accenture, companies are actively seeking acquisitions that can enhance their sustainability profile and drive growth in green markets. This trend is particularly evident in sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and green technology, where M&A activity is accelerating as organizations strive to meet their sustainability goals and respond to consumer demand for sustainable products and services.

In conclusion, sustainability considerations are reshaping the M&A landscape by influencing strategy, due diligence, and risk management practices. Organizations that effectively integrate sustainability into their M&A activities are better positioned to mitigate risks, capitalize on opportunities, and drive long-term value creation in an increasingly sustainability-conscious business environment.

Learn more about Risk Management

Best Practices in M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions)

Here are best practices relevant to M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) materials here.

Did you know?
The average daily rate of a McKinsey consultant is $6,625 (not including expenses). The average price of a Flevy document is $65.

Explore all of our best practices in: M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions)

M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) Case Studies

For a practical understanding of M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions), take a look at these case studies.

Global Market Penetration Strategy for Semiconductor Manufacturer

Scenario: A leading semiconductor manufacturer is facing strategic challenges related to market saturation and intense competition, necessitating a focus on M&A to secure growth.

Read Full Case Study

Telecom Infrastructure Consolidation Initiative

Scenario: The company is a mid-sized telecom infrastructure provider looking to expand its market presence and capabilities through strategic mergers and acquisitions.

Read Full Case Study

Merger and Acquisition Optimization for a Large Pharmaceutical Firm

Scenario: A multinational pharmaceutical firm is grappling with integrating its recent acquisition —a biotechnology company specializing in the development of innovative oncology drugs.

Read Full Case Study

Post-Merger Integration for Ecommerce Platform in Competitive Market

Scenario: The company is a mid-sized ecommerce platform that has recently acquired a smaller competitor to consolidate its market position and diversify its product offerings.

Read Full Case Study

Ecommerce Platform Diversification for Specialty Retailer

Scenario: The company is a specialty retailer in the ecommerce space, focusing on high-end consumer electronics.

Read Full Case Study

M&A Strategic Integration for Healthcare Provider in Specialized Medicine

Scenario: A leading firm in the specialized medicine sector is facing challenges post-merger integration, with overlapping functions leading to operational inefficiencies.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

How can companies leverage AI and machine learning to enhance the accuracy of their cash flow predictions in valuation models?
Companies can enhance cash flow prediction accuracy in valuation models by integrating AI and ML to analyze vast data, identify patterns, and adapt forecasts dynamically, leading to more informed Strategic Planning and decision-making. [Read full explanation]
How is blockchain technology impacting the due diligence process in M&As?
Blockchain technology is transforming M&A due diligence by enhancing Data Integrity, Transparency, reducing Costs and Risks, and demonstrating promising real-world applications. [Read full explanation]
What role does environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria play in the valuation of companies today?
ESG criteria significantly influence company valuations today by affecting investment decisions, consumer and employee attraction, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiency, with companies excelling in ESG likely to achieve higher valuations. [Read full explanation]
In light of global economic uncertainties, how can companies adapt their valuation models to remain agile and responsive?
Companies must adapt their valuation models for agility by integrating Real-Time Data and Advanced Analytics, emphasizing Flexibility in Financial Modeling, and leveraging External Expertise and Collaborative Platforms to navigate global economic uncertainties effectively. [Read full explanation]
What impact do emerging technologies have on the due diligence process in M&A transactions?
Emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and cloud computing have revolutionized the M&A due diligence process by enhancing data analysis, transparency, security, and efficiency, enabling more informed decisions and streamlined transactions. [Read full explanation]
How can companies effectively assess and mitigate cybersecurity risks during the M&A process?
To effectively assess and mitigate cybersecurity risks during the M&A process, companies must conduct thorough due diligence that includes evaluating digital assets, compliance, and cyber defense mechanisms, and implement strategies involving technical, legal, and operational measures to safeguard the merged entity's cybersecurity posture. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions) Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024


Flevy is the world's largest knowledge base of best practices.


Leverage the Experience of Experts.

Find documents of the same caliber as those used by top-tier consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture.

Download Immediately and Use.

Our PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks, and Word documents are completely customizable, including rebrandable.

Save Time, Effort, and Money.

Save yourself and your employees countless hours. Use that time to work on more value-added and fulfilling activities.




Read Customer Testimonials



Download our FREE Strategy & Transformation Framework Templates

Download our free compilation of 50+ Strategy & Transformation slides and templates. Frameworks include McKinsey 7-S Strategy Model, Balanced Scorecard, Disruptive Innovation, BCG Experience Curve, and many more.