60% of Asean companies say they are not transitioning to net zero fast enough: survey

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SOME 60 per cent of business leaders in Asean believe their companies are not transitioning to net zero carbon emissions fast enough, leaving them at risk of falling short of international targets to do so by 2050, a survey by Standard Chartered has found.

This is higher than the global average of 55 per cent, StanChart said in a statement on Monday.

StanChart's study, titled Zeronomics, surveyed 250 senior leaders in large companies and 100 investment specialists between September and October, although it did not specify the breakdown of where the respondents were based.

"Our survey reveals that most companies intend to transition to net zero by 2050 but have yet to take the action needed to get there," said Bill Winters, the bank's group chief executive.

Four in 10 Asean senior executives said they fully support the Paris Agreement, short of the global average of 47 per cent.

About a third of them said their companies require high levels of investment to transition, slightly higher than the global average of 60 per cent.

In addition, 73 per cent said the lack of support from their own investors is the biggest barrier to progress for companies in this region, compared with 60 per cent globally.

"Many Asean companies are looking to delay significant action to after 2030, with the 2020s looking set to be a lost decade," StanChart said.

It noted that only 20 per cent of Asean business leaders, compared with 34 per cent globally, said their companies will make the most progress between 2030 and 2040.

Meanwhile, 53 per cent said they will take the most action between 2040 and 2050, compared with 37 per cent globally.

Most of these companies are delaying transition because they do not feel they are currently equipped to meet the target, with some 60 per cent of Asean business leaders saying they need "extensive organisational change" before tackling net zero.

Some 70 per cent believe a lack of finance is hampering transition; 70 per cent also believe that a lack of support from executive leadership is a significant obstacle.

A whopping 97 per cent of Asean's senior executives said the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed their company's net-zero transition, compared with 85 per cent globally.

But all is not lost - some 90 per cent of Asean respondents said cost savings from sustainable practices or increased operational efficiency would make it more financially attractive to speed up the transition to net zero.

Other top accelerators of a net-zero transition include making net zero a key part of investors' fiduciary duties and standardising global net-zero transition measurement, disclosure and rating frameworks, respondents said.

They also said that an increased demand for net-zero operations, products and services from net-zero trading partners as well as an effective global carbon tax could also have this effect.

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