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Executives’ Concerns in Respect of Climate Issues Grow: the 2022 CxO Sustainability Report

Nowadays, CxOs have mostly a clear understanding of how the future of our environment depends on business – particularly, on cutting carbon emissions and integrating sustainable practices into business operations. A lot of executives are already implementing key sustainability actions so their business can shorten the effects on environment, however, some obstacles still exist on this way.

Nowadays, CxOs have mostly a clear understanding of how the future of our environment depends on business – particularly, on cutting carbon emissions and integrating sustainable practices into business operations. A lot of executives are already implementing key sustainability actions so their business can shorten the effects on environment, however, some obstacles still exist on this way.

Following the emerging urgency to react on environmental and climate issues, Deloitte has presented the 2022 CxO Sustainability Report which reflects CxOs’ concerns about ecological problems and explores the efforts of executives in the fight against climate changes. The Report also reveals the gaps and differences in leaders’ ambitions and opportunities to positively exercise influence on the future of the planet.

Within the survey, Deloitte has polled more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 21 countries. The survey map covers Europe, South Africa, Americas, and Asia Pacific, as well as the major industry sectors represented in the sample.

Rising of climate change concerns. The results show that 89% of executives agree there is a global climate emergency. Climate change is already affecting the business development – executives say that, among the climate issues that have a strong influence on business, the biggest ones are operational impact of climate-related disasters, regulatory/political uncertainty, and pressure from civil society. On top of that, 81% of executives have stated that they’ve been personally impacted by climate events in some way, and 62% of respondents expect that the climate change will highly impact their companies’ strategies and operations over the next three years.

Deloitte 2022 CxO Sustainability Report

The survey also states that companies are feeling pressure to act on climate change from many different stakeholder groups – from regulators to customers to employees.

What are the obstacles and disconnections on the way to sustainable business?

While admitting that companies’ level of responsibility in terms of climate and environment is increasing, businesses still have some obstacles on their way to sustainability. Thus, over a third of organizations have not implemented more than one of five ‘needle-moving’ sustainability actions.

Besides, some of the most complicated actions to implement include:

  • Developing new climate-friendly products or services;
  • Establishing requirements to suppliers and business partners to meet specific sustainability criteria;
  • Updating or relocating facilities to make them more resistant to climate impacts.

Such obstacles are caused by difficulty in measuring the environmental impact and insufficient supply of sustainable or low-emissions inputs. On top of that, CxOs continue to struggle with the short-term costs of transitioning to a low-carbon future.

Positive impact

The survey results show that organizations successfully implement such sustainability steps as usage of sustainable materials, energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment, efficient energy usage, and training employees on climate change actions and impacts.
19% of leaders from the total survey sample are implementing at least four of five of the ‘needle-moving’ actions stated in the Report:

  • Developing new, climate-friendly products or services;
  • Requiring suppliers and business partners to meet specific sustainability criteria;
  • Updating or relocating facilities to make them more resistant to climate impacts;
  • Incorporating climate considerations into lobbying/political donations;
  • Tying senior leader compensation to sustainability performance.

“The battle against climate change isn’t a choice, it’s billions of choices. No action is insignificant, but certain activities and decisions ‘move the needle’ more than others. Those bolder actions from business leaders are needed now – while there’s still time to limit the damage. It’s time to prove we’re up to the challenge,” says Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO.

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