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PwC: Half of CEOs changing course to tap green growth opportunities

PwC: Half of CEOs changing course to tap green growth opportunities

PwC: Half of CEOs changing course to tap green growth opportunities

More than half of the world's chief executives are now using climate change to help dictate their business agenda over the long term, according to a new report.

Professional services firm PwC polled almost 150 business leaders during June and July 2015, using respondents from its annual Global CEO Survey to complete the research.

It found that almost all of those chief executives have taken action to protect their business and reputation in light of climate change, and that a significant number have changed strategic course to tap green growth opportunities, too.

Three in five respondents are acting on climate change to give their companies a reputational advantage, with over half aiming to improve shareholder value (53 per cent) and increase consumer trust in their business (52 per cent).

Correspondingly, nine in ten (89 per cent) are working to boost the energy efficiency of their operations, while just under three-quarters (74 per cent) have set targets to recycle more of the resources they consume.

On a more strategic level, over half (54 per cent) of the chief executives polled in the PwC survey say they have made long-term investments specifically to capitalise on green growth, while three-quarters (75 per cent) are already developing new products and services in response to the climate change debate.

Just under half (49 per cent) have board-level discussions on making their business more environmentally friendly every year, if not more frequently.

Commenting on the results, PwC sustainability and climate change partner Jon Williams said: "80 per cent of CEOs told us what motivates them personally on climate change is their desire to protect the interests of future generations. But look beneath this headline and you see a smaller, emerging group of leading CEOs making the connection with growth, costs, risk and shareholder value."

He added that far more chief executives "need to be motivated by business as well as moral issues" and find how climate change correlates to the financial performance of their business, particularly in light of the forthcoming UN Climate Summit in Paris this December.

Back in July, a study from researchers at London School of Economics and Political Science claimed that "almost all" actions to tackle climate change, and to limit global warming to 2 degree celsius above pre-industrial levels, will have a positive economic impact.

It said that improved air quality, increased energy efficiency and clean technology spillovers will "more than justify" the costs of decarbonisation to individual countries, creating new opportunities for growth rather than restricting them.

“The findings of this research suggest that the traditional assumption that action on climate change is net-costly is false," said Fergus Green, lead author on the report.

"Countries should see the climate talks in Paris this December as an opportunity to work with each other to deliver as quickly as possible the mutual gains that can result from decarbonising the economy."

 

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of ThinkStock