Business leaders have a unique responsibility to help the world transition to a lower-carbon future. Are they up to the challenge?

The disconnect between ambition and impact

During September and October 2021, Deloitte polled over 2,000 C-suite executives across 21 countries to examine business leaders’ and companies’ concerns and actions when it comes to climate change and environmental sustainability.

Climate weighs heavily on the minds of the world’s executives. However, there is also a disconnect between ambition and impact. Organizations are struggling to implement actions that demonstrate they have embedded climate considerations into their culture and have the senior leader buy-in and influence to effect meaningful transformation.

The report further explores the disconnect between ambition and impact as well as steps CxOs can take to start to bridge the gap.

91% of Swiss executives agree there is a global climate emergency

The world is at a tipping point

89% of Swiss executives see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change compared to a global average of 79%. Despite the gravity of the moment, there is a prevailing sense of optimism as 92% agree that with immediate action, we can limit the worst impacts of climate change.

Agree/strongly agree

With immediate action, we can limit the worst impacts of climate change and move toward an improved future.
(n = 75)
(n = 2,083)
The world is at a tipping point for responding to climate change, and the future can go either way.
(n = 75)
(n = 2,083)

Almost all Swiss respondents (97%) indicate that their companies have already been negatively impacted by climate change. Swiss companies agree that the response to climate change is urgent. They do feel greater pressure from their various stakeholder groups than companies in other markets.

Which of the following actions/adaptations has your company already undertaken as part of its sustainability efforts?

According to the report, Switzerland is lagging, especially when it comes to the measures with the greatest leverage. The gap is clearest in the development of new, climate-friendly products and in linking management remuneration to specific sustainability goals.

Top actions taken by Swiss companies
Using more sustainable materials (e.g., recycled materials, lower-emitting products)
Increasing the efficiency of energy use (e.g., energy efficiency in buildings)
Using energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment
Training employees on climate change actions and impacts
Creating a senior position or function responsible for driving sustainability initiatives
Harder-to-implement, needle-moving actions
Developing new climate-friendly products or services
Requiring suppliers and business partners to meet specific sustainability criteria
Updating/relocating facilities to make them more resistant to climate impacts
Incorporating climate considerations into lobbying/political donations
Tying senior leaders’ compensation to environmental sustainability performance

Actions and characteristics that set global climate leaders apart

The survey revealed a group of leading organizations—19% of the sample—who have implemented at least four of five “needle-moving” sustainability actions, as well as lagging organizations (those who have implemented one or none of these actions).

Climate-leading organizations pursue the future with purpose. They are more concerned, more active, and more likely to see the benefits of their climate strategies.

Leaders globally are more concerned

Leaders globally are more active

Leaders see greater benefits to their climate strategies

I believe my company’s current environmental sustainability efforts have/will have a positive impact on...

A decisive decade to act

Bold actions resulting in measurable impact are needed to accelerate the pace of intervention while there’s still time to limit the damage.

Download the Deloitte 2022 CxO Sustainability Report - global results Download the Deloitte 2022 CxO Sustainability Report - Swiss results