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CEOs forming a business case for climate change

LUXEMBOURG: With less than 100 days to a global deal on climate change, a CEO survey by PwC suggests 75 percent are developing new products and services to respond to climate change - and a third say it's helping them grow their business.

PwC said the results indicate an emerging group of CEOs are forming a business case for action on climate change based on cost efficiency, stronger risk management and new market opportunities.

Three out of five CEOs surveyed said they are acting on climate change to create reputational advantage; over half are motivated by improving shareholder value and building trust in their organization; and 58 percent said their companies are partnering with suppliers and business partners to address climate change risks and opportunities.

Risky-Business-Southeast-Report-Heat-ImageIn addition, 89 percent of CEOs said their companies have made energy efficiency improvements, 74 percent have set recycling targets, 61 percent have changed how they monitor and manage risk and 49 percent have board level discussions on climate change once a year or more.

Laurent Rouach, partner and Sustainability leader, PwC Luxembourg, commented: "Eighty percent 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.

"Far more [of them] need to be motivated by business as well as moral issues, and make the connection between climate change and financial performance, particularly in the context of an ambitious deal on climate change this year.

"Today's short term issues, such as energy cost and regulatory concerns, will become tomorrow's longer-term and strategic threats to competitiveness and growth. The implications of a changing climate are a tick list of critical business issues ranging from commodity pricing and energy, to logistics and sourcing, to investment, talent and customer retention," Rouach noted.

PwC said the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December looks set to increase both the risks and opportunities of a changing climate for global companies. In this context, CEOs said their top concerns are impacts on energy prices (61 percent) and the potential increase in government regulation (56 percent).

Rouach added: "It is often hard to make the link between the global climate negotiations and day-to-day business issues – national regulation is often more relevant and immediate. CEOs are more focused on the near term and direct issues like regulation and consumer attitudes. Less than half the CEOs see the Paris agreement as a driver for action in their sector, despite its role as a catalyst for national regulation, or make connection with shareholder value."

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