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Climate check: Business’ views on environmental sustainability

The disparity between urgency and action

A Deloitte Global survey found that 91 percent of executives surveyed say their businesses have felt the impact of climate change, but gaps in progress and action remain.

Between November 2019 and January 2020, Deloitte Global conducted a survey of 350 executives worldwide to get a read of business leaders’ greatest concerns when it comes to environmental sustainability, the actions organizations are taking in response, and the gaps in progress.

This report – entitled “Climate check: Business’ views on environmental sustainability” – examines a specific point in time before COVID-19 reached pandemic levels. It is intended to be the first in a series of surveys measuring business’ response to climate change over time.

The survey found that while businesses are starting to take action, the current level of action often doesn’t match the scale and urgency of executives’ stated business and moral concerns. For environmental efforts to have a lasting impact, they need to become an integral part of growth strategies. However, companies are still not viewing these programs as inherent, long-term parts of their businesses, and they often lack support and buy-in from the top.

For example, two-thirds of executives surveyed said they anticipate their organizations making cutbacks in their environmental efforts in the event of an economic downturn. And 38 percent say lack of buy-in and/or accountability from the CEO or other senior leaders is preventing their companies from taking more concrete actions to address climate change.

Making the case for change

While it’s still too early to know what the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be from an environmental perspective, this moment could very well represent a crucial crossroads in our future environmental sustainability efforts.

This report offers recommendations for how organizations can start to make environmental sustainability fundamental to their operations. We think these recommendations will continue to be relevant as organizations look to reset and rebuild after the pandemic.

Key contacts:

Steve Dutton
Deloitte Global Communications
Tel: +1 202 738 7586
sdutton@deloitte.com

Stephanie Anderson
Deloitte Global Communications
Tel: +1 212 492 3959
steanderson@deloitte.com

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