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Accelerating the Green Transition

February 13, 2023

Climate change is now an enduring part of the business agenda. Almost every organization has felt its impacts over the past year, and C-suite leaders (CxOs) have been personally impacted. New Deloitte’s survey of more than 2,000 CxOs across 24 countries finds that the majority of CxOs remain optimistic the world will take sufficient steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and feel a sense of urgency to take action.

  • 78% of leaders are somewhat/extremely optimistic the world will take sufficient steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change
  • 84% of leaders agree/strongly agree the world can achieve global economic growth while also reaching climate change goals

When asked to rank the issues most pressing to their organizations, 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. 

The importance of climate change is seen in organizations’ investments over the past year: 75% say their organizations have increased their sustainability investments, nearly 20% of whom say they’ve increased investments “significantly.” Furthermore, most CxOs (61%) said climate change will have a high/very high impact on their organization’s strategy and operations over the next three years.

Countries most likely to have increased investments “significantly”: the UAE (34%); Brazil (31%); Italy (29%). 

Pressure from all sides

The report also sheds light on companies that are feeling a moderate-to large degree of pressure to act on climate change from many different stakeholder groups — from the 

board/management to customers to employees. According to the survey, employees have become an increasingly influential group: more than half of CxOs said employee activism on climate matters has led their organizations to increase sustainability actions over the last year — and 24% said employee activism led to a “significant” increase. Regulation is also influential: 65% of CxOs said the changing regulatory environment has led their organizations to increase climate action over the last year.

“None of us alone has all the answers. In some respects, we’re all figuring it out as we go given the lack of precedent for the complexity of the climate and social challenges we face. That’s why collaboration makes sense in the attempt to scale sustainable markets. This means coming together around a global set of standards on what best practice is or should be. If we can figure out some sort of common operating principles, at least we’re driving in the same direction.”, said Marisa Drew, Chief Sustainability Officer, Standard Chartered, one of the leaders heard by Deloitte.

Source: Deloitte