2023 Deloitte CxO Sustainability Report

Accelerating the Green Transition

Over the last year, global executives have faced a number of challenges, including economic uncertainty, geopolitical conflict, supply chain disruptions, and talent shortages. While the vast majority of CxOs surveyed share the view that the world can achieve global economic growth while also reaching climate change goals, there continues to be a gap between actions and impact as organisations are slower to implement the “needle-moving” actions that embed sustainability into the core of their strategies, operations, and cultures, according to Deloitte’s survey of more than 2,000 CxOs across 24 countries.

Key global findings:

When asked to rank the issues most pressing to their organisations, many CxOs rated climate change as a “top three issue,” ahead of seven others, including innovation, competition for talent, and supply chain challenges. In fact, only economic outlook ranked slightly higher. Many CxOs (61%) said climate change will have a high/ very impact on their organisation’s strategy and operations over the next three years. Some 75% said their organisations have increased their sustainability investments over the past year, nearly 20% of whom say they’ve increased investments significantly.

CxOs are highly worried about climate change but also optimistic about their climate actions:

  • 62% said they feel concerned about climate change all or most of the time.
  • Almost all respondents indicated their companies were negatively impacted by climate change in some way over the last year, and 82% of CxOs have been personally impacted.
  • Yet, 78% feel somewhat or extremely optimistic that the world will take sufficient steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Companies are feeling broad pressure to act across stakeholder groups—from the board/management to customers to employees:

  • More than half of CxOs said employee activism on climate matters has led their organisations to increase sustainability actions over the last year—24% of which said it led to a “significant” increase.
  • Regulation is also influential: 65% of CxOs said the changing regulatory environment has led their organisation to increase climate action over the last year.

Organisations are acting, but struggling to move the needle.

While companies are acting, they’re less likely to implement actions that demonstrate they have embedded climate considerations into their cultures and have the senior leader buy-in and influence to effect meaningful transformation.

For example, 21% of CxOs indicate their organisations have no plans to tie senior leader compensation to environmental sustainability performance and 30% say they have no plans to lobby government for climate initiatives.

Additionally, when asked about how serious certain groups are about addressing climate change, only 29% of CxOs said they believe the private sector is “very” serious.

Recommendations to accelerate the green transition

Deloitte’s 2023 survey shows that CxOs do believe that both their organisations and the global economy can continue to grow while reaching climate goals and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So, how can they help close the gap between ambition and action?

Our report offers several recommendations to help CxOs get started, including embedding climate goals into their overall business strategy and purpose, building trust by taking credible climate actions, empowering the board, encouraging stakeholder action, investing in today’s (and tomorrow’s) technologies, and collaborating to drive systems-level change.

Almost every organisation has felt the impacts of climate change over the past year, and CxOs have been personally impacted.

New Deloitte research reveals majority of organisations increased sustainability investments over past year amid global uncertainty

Read the press release

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