Sustainability represents a growing priority in the corporate world as a result of Covid-19

Climate Risk Recruitment

Sustainability represents a growing priority in the corporate world as a result of Covid-19

A new report highlights that sustainability is a growing factor in large businesses as a result of the pandemic.

New research delivered by the Carbon Trust states that environmental and sustainability priorities will become more important or significantly more important as a result of Covid-19.

The report explains that even businesses that have experienced significant impacts from the pandemic still believe sustainability is a vital part of their business strategy moving forward. Of the businesses that have experienced significant disruption, nearly 70% believe environmental management or sustainability will become a core part of their business plans.

The Carbon Trust ‘Corporate Attitudes Towards Sustainability’ report was undertaken by B2B International, consisting of over 450 interviews with large businesses spanning across the UK, Europe, Mexico and Singapore. 

Hugh Jones, the Managing Director Advisory at the Carbon Trust stated that the report findings are quite consistent with what they are currently seeing in the market. Sustainability is a rapidly growing priority in businesses, and rightly so. Mr Jones explains that the accelerated demand for their services that are intended to support larger businesses with decarbonising and adapting for the future highlight the rise of sustainability in the corporate world, despite the continued challenges we face in our markets.

The Carbon Trust believes the global health crisis is likely elevating the need for action on risk in businesses worldwide, and the climate crisis includes a level of risk that no business can simply ignore. 

In the study, approximately three-quarters of businesses interviewed have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, with 4% stating that it represented a serious threat to their business to such a level that they may not be able to recover form. A further 32% interviewed said their business had been significantly impacted, with particular impacts on their operations, sales and revenue.

Three-quarters of organisations interviewed had been negatively impacted by Covid-19 – with 4% saying it represented an existential threat to their organisation from which they may not be able to recover, while 32% said they had been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with operations heavily impaired, or sales/revenue badly impacted.#

The industries that seem to be the most confident in regards to the growing importance of sustainability as a corporate priority are within construction, engineering, retail, mining, manufacturing and healthcare. No matter what the industry is, however, only around 30% of the businesses interviewed expect there to be little or no change in terms of environmental and sustainability within business plans.

Mr Jones explains that businesses worldwide are exploring and assessing their position in terms of delivering a green recovery and how they can contribute towards net-zero targets, whilst continuing to maintain sustainable economic activity. Jones goes on to explain that through their work with corporate clients on net-zero targets and related strategies, it is clear that many larger corporates will be leading the way in terms of supporting green industry development. Without the support and commitment of corporates, a green recovery will be even more challenging to deliver, so the research findings are very positive.

Budgets allocated towards environmental and sustainability plans are expected to rise as a result of the pandemic, with over 60% of the responding business stating that their budgets will increase significantly or by a reasonable amount, and only 16% saying they would decline slightly.

Over 70% of the businesses believe that sustainability will continue to become more important to their customers as a consequence of Covid-19, with nearly a third stating that it will become significantly more important.

The study represents the second year that the Carbon Trust has delivered research on corporate attitudes towards sustainability. In comparison to 2019, all industries have witnessed a rise in priority towards environmental and sustainability plans, particularly in Germany. More businesses are dedicating environmental and sustainability professionals to their organisation compared to 2019 (39% in 2020 compared, to 35% in 2019).


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