2021 Climate Check: Business' views on environmental sustainability

Disruptive 2020 slows climate action, but executives are determined to act

A Deloitte Global survey found that over 80% of executives are concerned about climate change, but the pandemic and economic downturn have stalled ambitious actions.

Business leaders feel the impact of climate change; see the world at a tipping point to act

This Climate Check report, informed by a survey of 750 executives conducted in January and February 2021, evaluates business’ responses to climate change issues in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn.

Business leaders see that climate change is no longer a distant threat. Nearly 30% of executives say their organizations already feel the operational impacts of climate-related disasters and more than a quarter are facing a scarcity of resources due to climate change. In the midst of these direct impacts, the majority of business executives acknowledge that the world is now at a tipping point to act if we are to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The pandemic has stalled - but not stopped - environmental sustainability efforts

Despite their concern, almost two-thirds of organizations need to cut back on their environmental sustainability efforts in response to the pandemic and economic downturn. Organizations are also navigating uncertain territory with shifting political and regulatory environments, operational impacts due to climate-related events, and the growing influence of consumer and employee activism.

Almost a quarter of organizations, however, have seen firsthand how environmental sustainability efforts are good for people, planet and profit. These companies plan to accelerate their environmental sustainability efforts over the next year including broadening strategies beyond public policy to accountability measures that impact the bottom line and executive compensation.

The path forward

This report captures influential perspectives at a key moment in the climate conversation and the future of our planet. Our findings highlight ways for organizations to incorporate a breadth of environmental sustainability efforts into their core operations and move from commitment to action.

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