Over half of 700 companies polled will decelerate climate initiatives: Deloitte survey

Tan Nai Lun
Published Mon, Nov 7, 2022 · 06:46 PM

GEOPOLITICAL crises in recent months have derailed climate action plans for more than half the companies surveyed by Deloitte for its latest climate survey, 2022 Climate Check: Business’ views on climate action ahead of COP27.

The survey found that more than 50 per cent of the 700 company executives polled said they would decelerate their sustainability initiatives over the next 12 months amid global headwinds – which includes the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and global economic uncertainties.

The survey, which was conducted in August and September, comes as the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) climate summit kicked off in Egypt on Sunday (Nov 6).

Some 37 per cent of respondents said they would accelerate their sustainability efforts over the next 12 months, even though external factors such as inflation and geopolitical issues have hit some of its strategies.

But 53 per cent said they would either cut back or temporarily discontinue their efforts over the next 12 months due to external factors.

Of the respondents, 27 per cent were cutting back their efforts somewhat; 18 per cent would cut back significantly; while 8 per cent said they have temporarily discontinued their efforts and will resume over the next 12 months.

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Nevertheless, Deloitte noted that executives are still optimistic, with 75 per cent of executives expecting COP27 to bring about the outcomes needed to meet the Paris Agreement.

For the executives, key issues that should have more global attention include security risks induced by changes in climate patterns, greenwashing, and ensuring a “just transition” – or ensuring that the benefits of transitioning to a green economy are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically.

Over 90 per cent of executives said a just transition is at least an average priority for their companies.

The results, however, are skewed among industries: 46 per cent of professional services companies and 41 per cent of consumer products companies view a just transition as a top priority, while 35 per cent of industrial products and manufacturing companies and 18 per cent of energy and resources companies said it is a low priority or not a priority.

Most organisations have initiated climate mitigation and/or adaptation strategies. But some industries – such as the industrial products and manufacturing as well as the energy and resources sectors – are lagging, Deloitte said.

Meanwhile, views on government efforts are mixed.

Heading into COP27, 63 per cent of executives said governments should crack down on greenwashing. This comes as 66 per cent of leaders noted that greenwashing has become a serious problem in their industries.

Some 55 per cent of executives also support new government regulations and policies. But at the same time, 27 per cent said governments should prioritise enforcing existing regulations and policies.

The survey polled 700 executives from 14 countries, and aims to understand the executives’ top concerns on the climate crisis.

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