Businesses combating
climate change

The voice of businesses on the
front line of climate action

The Goal 13 Impact Platform report: Voices from the market

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The Goal 13 Impact Platform is the result of a partnership between the Confederation of British Industry, Deloitte, Chapter Zero, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, Dell, Boomi, and the Met Office. Together, the partnership has built a free and open repository of corporate climate actions from businesses who want to tell their climate story in the run up to COP26. The objectives of the initiative are to stimulate learning and collaboration through use of the platform and through events and reports. This report summarises the interviews that have been carried out and illustrate these with attributed references. It represents the narrative of the businesses interviewed rather than the authors’, and aims to complement the individual business level insight the platform provides.

Key Findings

There are increasing ‘quality’ of goals, but many are not backed up by detailed pathways.

Key Findings

Leadership is often looking to set ambition and drive action for organisations to align with.

Key Findings

There are material initiatives for key areas of corporate emissions; many have little overall impact.

Key Findings

Barriers to greater ambition and impact are well understood, but many challenges are systemic.

Key Findings

Developing foundational capabilities, Building momentum, Collaboration, & Communication represent core grouped principles for lessons learnt.

Over 420 interviews inform this unique report showcasing climate action by businesses of all sizes, sectors, and globally. Developed during the pandemic, it gives indication of business ability to resource and invest in net zero initiatives against the backdrop of disruptive forces.

The findings represent a diverse set of respondents, covering 19 countries and over two dozen sectors. Despite this diversity, the report highlights significant climate action commonalities for businesses, while reflecting the unique challenges faced by individual companies and sectors. Painting a holistic picture of the state of business climate change programmes.

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I’m encouraged to see a shift in approach: now businesses are talking less about the cost of decarbonising, and more about the costs of inaction.

Tony Danker, Director-General, CBI

Climate is a mega trend, and is a pervasive feature of both society and markets.

Drivers of change

More and more organisations, across sectors and geographies, are committing to ambitious targets and goals.

Targets and commitments

Material initiatives for every key area of corporate emissions are helping build momentum and strengthen ambition.

High impact initiatives

We are seeing more and more businesses committing to large-scale action, but there remains a critical gap between aspiration and action. That’s why the stories of best practices are so vital to the work ahead.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO

Businesses are facing challenges to developing their climate change programmes on many levels.

Barriers to progress

Radical change is required to meet climate targets and the evolving expectations.

Organising for change

Setting ambitious goals, developing associated plans and embedding these into the organisation are key foundations for success

Lessons learned

Country profiles

The climate crisis is a global challenge. Decisive, global action now, will ensure our goal remains within reach

Drivers of change

The pressure to change has broadened and deepened across stakeholder groups

Key figures

Driver categories and primary drivers cited

Overall emissions reduction
Brand Reputation
Executive Motivation
Culture
Existing & Potential Employees
Reporting
Risk
Primary Driver

The percentage of respondents citing each driver is displayed as a bar chart, with the percentage of respondents citing that driver as their primary motivation overlayed as a line chart (i.e., 76% of respondents cite customers, clients, and consumers as a driver, but only 11% cite this as their primary driver). Where we have broken down the high-level driver into sub-drivers, the proportion of respondents citing each sub-driver is displayed as a stacked bar (i.e., 48% of those respondents who cite leadership, employees, and culture as a driver cite executive motivation as a sub-driver, versus 15% who cite existing and potential employees).

Driver categories and primary drivers cited

Key messages

The pressure to change has broadened and deepened across stakeholder groups over the last two years and continues to build. The pressure to act on climate change is felt across the market and has evolved from being largely an NGO-led consideration to encompassing many, if not all, external and internal stakeholders. This shift is seen to have accelerated over the last two years, and pressure continues to build. Respondents cite an average of five key drivers influencing their response to climate change.

We have noticed over the last one to two years that the climate change aspect of ESG has really moved into mainstream focus.

Fidelity International Ltd (Financial Services)

Climate change is recognised as a pervasive feature of both society and markets. The most cited driver is recognition that climate change is now a pervasive societal feature and demands a response from all organisations. This is typically paired with specific pressure from customers, clients, or consumers. Approximately 75% of all respondents cite these as key drivers.

Consumer expectations and behaviour were shifting before the pandemic. However, the pandemic has accelerated these trends into a huge societal shift, altering what people are looking for and expecting when they buy into fashion.

House of Baukjen (Consumer Goods)

Pressure from company leadership, employees, and alignment with company culture are catalysing change in many organisations, but are less frequently the primary driver. Leadership stands out as a key driving force for the origination and development of corporate climate programmes. Employees are an important but secondary source of pressure, with some mentioning that responding to climate change is important for them because of their company culture (‘it’s the right thing to do’). This category is important but secondary to broad market considerations.

Our leadership is an important driver, with our CEO and Board making commitments that we then work out how to achieve as a business.

Sainsbury's (Consumer Goods)

Direct commercial opportunity is cited as a key influence on a company’s response to climate change by over half of respondents. The identification of direct commercial opportunity is mentioned by many, but is rarely a primary driver of change. The opportunities described are typically procurement and process savings rather than the development of new products, services, and market segments. Given the market pressures noted above, this can be expected to change as companies evolve their product and service portfolios.

We see a massive commercial opportunity in doing the right thing.

HH Global (Telecommunications, Media and Technology)

Capital markets, regulation and policy, and physical risk are cited less frequently as drivers of change, but can be expected to be more important in the future. Capital markets are cited as a driver by 47% of respondents, but rarely as a primary driver. However, pressure and influence from capital providers is growing as the sector seeks to manage climate risk and wants to be seen as part of the solution. Regulation is seen as lagging, and as such is perceived more as a barrier to progress than a driver; however, this is likely to evolve quickly given pressures to advance policy and regulatory efforts. Physical risk, cited by less than a third of respondents and rarely as a primary driver, will rise up the agenda as extreme weather impacts caused by global warming proliferate.

As a FTSE100 company, there are increasing expectations from investors… to have a clear and long-term climate strategy in place.

InterContinental Hotels Group plc (General Services)

Climate as a mega-trend

The majority of respondents (58%) cite broader societal shifts as a key driver of their climate programmes, a mega-trend that cannot be ignored, is accelerating in impact, and demands a response. This broad acknowledgement is paired with an understanding of the corresponding change in stakeholder expectations, making a company’s response critical to its brand (57% of respondents). Collectively, the recognition of climate as a mega-trend that has brand implications for business is cited by 79% of respondents.

79%

of respondents cite either their leadership (64%), their employees (50%), or their culture (20%) as key drivers of their climate programme.

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Customers, clients and consumers

Customers, clients, or consumers are cited as a key driver for climate action by 76% of respondents. The responses can be grouped into expectations that: the company is committed to climate action; the existing product or service has a low or reduced carbon footprint; or demands for a new low-carbon product or service.

Direct commercial opportunity

Direct commercial opportunity is called out as a key driver by over 50% of respondents, but as a primary driver by only 6% of respondents. However, when aggregated with the broader recognition that the market and customers are changing, it becomes a foundational driver that unites climate change with the business model and side-steps the ever-present debate about trade-offs and (financially-orientated) fiduciary duty.

Case studies

title text

Engaging with Government to shape the pathway to net-zero

The scale of the challenge of reducing global emissions and limiting rises in temperatures to 1.5 degrees requires collaboration across all sectors of business, government, and civil society. Businesses inevitably are critical actors, providing the investment and innovation to deliver the necessary change. This however, cannot be in isolation. Governments, in particular, create the conditions to enable effective business action, provide democratic legitimacy, set standards to shape markets, design incentives and use their spending power to promote change. Respondents have regularly referred to government interactions and engagement as important factors in determining the success of their initiatives, whether as a catalyst or as a barrier.

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Section 06

Lessons Learned

Participants recognise the need for decisive action rather than simply setting goals and developing plans

Section 02

Targets and commitments

Targets addressing Scope 1 and 2 emissions are widespread across all sectors, while Scope 3 target setting is still developing.

Targets and commitments

Targets addressing Scope 1 and 2 emissions are widespread across all sectors, while Scope 3 target setting is still developing.

Key figures

Categorised targets

Overall emissions reduction
18% Other absolute carbon emissions reduction target (excl. net zero)
17% Net-zero
13% Carbon neutral
Overall emissions reduction
12% Energy use target
9% Waste target
4% Energy efficiency target
Other
Carbon intensity
No targets set

The aggregated target categories, and sub-categories, as a percentage of total responses (i.e., 48% of stated targets are related to overall emissions reduction, with 13% of targets specifically relating to carbon neutrality).

Overall emissions reduction

Key messages

Headline targets addressing Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction are widespread across all sectors, while Scope 3 target setting is in its infancy. Interim targets are present in larger, more progressive entities. Offsetting remains a key element of net-zero commitments. Climate targets are affecting investment decisions. Those without formal targets are anticipating setting targets in the near term.

We are committed to reaching our science-based emissions targets for Scopes 1 and 2, with a 42% reduction targeted by 2030 and a 100% reduction by 2050.

United Utilities Group plc (Energy, Resources & Utilities)

Respondents seek progress to reach a consistent and universally adopted taxonomy of climate-related targets. Science-based targets are present but are not yet pervasive.

We have introduced an SBT-validated supplier engagement target which requires that 71% of group suppliers have an emissions reduction target by 2023. Suppliers will be required to set these targets in line with the science-based criteria.

Imerys (Energy, Resources & Utilities)

The target setting process is typically iterative, data led, and often requires the involvement of external expertise.

We aim to become carbon neutral by 2023 with respect to Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and net-zero by 2030. This ambition is based on limited knowledge at the moment and we would like to reach this target more quickly and move to carbon positive. We are in the process of defining our net-zero roadmap with external consultancy help. We haven’t made any SBTi targets yet but will do so as part of this roadmap.

Habito (Financial Services)

Primary emissions reduction targets are often supported by other sustainability targets, with some addressing resilience.

Our target is to have net-zero operational emissions by 2030. We are also aiming for a net gain in biodiversity, increasing the abundance and diversity of plant and animal species at our grounds. Together with partners, we established an education space during The Championships in 2019 to promote sustainability and climate action.

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Telecommunications, Media & Technology)

Emissions reductions targets

89% of respondents shared at least one climate-related target. Absolute emissions reduction, carbon neutrality, and net-zero targets are the most prevalent types of goals stated, accounting for 48% of all targets and commitments. Most targets have a baseline year post-2015. The time frame for targets varies, although with 59% of net-zero targets targeting 2035 or earlier, ambition is evident.

86%

of respondents noted Corporate investment decisions as being significantly impacted by the company’s climate commitments

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Target standardisation

42% of emissions reduction targets are noted as being aligned to SBTi. Most emissions reduction targets (54%) from respondents in high emitting sectors, including Energy, Resources and Utilities, Industrials, and Transport and Mobility, were not science-based.

Wider sustainability targets

The wider sustainability targets are often linked to and support headline carbon reduction targets, while sitting under the umbrella of company-wide sustainability targets. The secondary targets provided by respondents included those focused on resilience.

Section 01

Drivers of change

The pressure to change has broadened and deepened across stakeholder groups

Section 03

Organising for change

Change programmes need to reflect the radical transformation required to meet targets and evolving stakeholder expectations

Organising for change

Change programmes need to reflect the radical transformation required to meet targets and evolving stakeholder expectations

Key figures

Dimensions of change programmes

Overall degree of maturity

There are 4 climate change programme dimensions and the overall degree of maturity. The blue bars represent the range of responses (illustrative). Few, if any organisations have positioned climate change as a long-term driver of value.

Dimensions of change programmes

Key messages

Radical change is required to meet climate targets and the evolving expectations of stakeholders. The way that businesses organise their programmes of change needs to reflect this, supporting the level of transformation implied. Many do not. Some businesses are demonstrating this need for change by incorporating climate change into legally binding charters.

Our new 'purpose' statement has changed the legal purpose of the business. It is not just profit, but low carbon too.

EDF Energy (Energy, Resources & Utilities)

Progressive organisations are thinking of climate change and their response as a driver of long-term value, a core component of the business model, and a basis for strategic decisions. However, most businesses have yet to reach this point, resulting in climate programmes competing for resources and attention with the legacy business and too often being de-prioritised. This influences the way in which the programme is organised.

We need to shift the mindset from compliance to business opportunities.

Schibsted Media Group (Telecommunications, Media & Technology)

The scope of corporate climate programmes typically emphasises emissions reduction over resilience, and the scope of emissions reduction is rarely comprehensive, particularly in terms of Scope 3. Programmes are often applied asymmetrically across geographies and lines of business. More mature organisations embrace a broader scope and wider and more coherent application across countries, supply chains, and lines of business.

Having control of your supply chain is essential. In this way you are also in control of the technology and resources used in all production processes.

Flokk (Consumer Goods)

Many companies locate their climate programmes within small, dedicated sustainability teams, reflecting the historic home of climate change-related knowledge. Their continued involvement is often critical, but as climate change becomes more central to the business, progressive companies are recognising the need to expand the effort to include all functions and levels and embed climate into corporate culture.

It is critical to have an aligned purpose and culture, where employees are given the mandate and ownership to take control and experiment.

Tyman plc (Industrials)

Given the rapidly shifting dynamics and complexity of climate change, close management and central coordination are key management approaches. At the same time, many corporates see value in leaving some scope for local teams to adapt programmes to their circumstances. Increasingly, firms collaborate with competitors, customers, or suppliers to deal with climate change.

All publicly communicated targets have some form of plan behind them. We don’t set targets and plan how to get there later.

Smurfit Kappa Group plc (Industrials)

Radical organisational change is required to meet ambitions

Companies are increasingly setting targets that imply fundamental change to the business and its operating environment. The more progressive businesses are accepting this and embarking on organisational transformation.

31%

of companies are working towards integrating climate programmes into the business model. For these firms, climate action is becoming aligned to and influencing purpose and strategy.

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Positioning for value

Progressive firms discussed putting climate at the heart of their business model by positioning it as a long term driver of value, explicitly incorporating it into their strategic plans and success metrics. This avoids trade-off mentalities that can exist between commercial decisions and climate programmes, and helps win stakeholder buy-in.

Organisational involvement

C. 63% of organisations involve sustainability teams in their climate change programmes. Sustainability teams typically provide some of the expertise necessary to shape an effective programme, but broader involvement is required to ensure the programme is effectively integrated

Case studies

Climate leadership in the boardroom

Boards of directors are under increasing pressure to understand and respond to risks and opportunities of climate change. This is driven in part, by the factors influencing business behaviour, the expectations of stakeholders and the policy and regulatory landscape. However, leadership is key to driving development of corporate climate plans.

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The important role of finance in progressing towards net-zero emissions

The finance system has a crucial role in achieving global net-zero emissions. Chief Financial Officers and finance teams can support efforts and plans to progress towards net-zero emissions by supporting integration into existing processes and structures, providing information needed to drive decisions, allocating funds and interaction with capital markets.

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The role of CIOs and IT decision makers in climate action

CTOs and CIOs have a key role in driving the digital transformation of their organisations while reducing the carbon footprint of the digital solutions and seizing the opportunities to drive sustainability benefits and carbon emission savings with smart digital solutions, including interactions and linkages systems within the broader ecosystem

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Section 02

Targets and commitments

Targets addressing Scope 1 and 2 emissions are widespread across all sectors, while Scope 3 target setting is still developing.

Section 04

High impact initiatives

There is strong representation of well-established approaches to addressing scope 1 and 2 emissions.

High impact initiatives

There is strong representation of well-established approaches to addressing scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Key figures

Initiatives grouped by impact category

Capability building
17% Low-carbon energy generation and/or consumption
9% Energy efficiency in buildings
9% Transportation
6% Low-carbon materials and finished goods
6% Production efficiency
5% Offsetting and/or carbon capture
3% Low-carbon construction and infrastructure
1% Other direct emissions reduction
Co-benefit
14% Engagement, education and advisory
6% Measurement and reporting
6% Strategy, governance and planning
4% Green financing
Directly targeting emissions reduction
12% Waste reduction and material circularity
Resilience
2% Adaptation and resilience of physical assets

Initiatives (outer circle) were aggregated into broader, impact categories (inner circle), representing a percentage of total responses (i.e., 56% of initiatives have a direct impact, with 9% of these specifically from transportation related initiatives).

Initiatives grouped by impact category

Key messages

Just half of the key initiatives provided by respondents directly target emissions or resilience, and few of these have quantifiable impacts. Businesses need to quickly leverage the capabilities they are building to develop portfolios of high impact initiatives, or risk falling short of their targets and stakeholder expectations.

Take actions, not pledges. Actions speak louder than words.

Peel L&P (Construction & Real Estate)

Initiatives directly targeting emissions or resilience are largely focused on energy, transport, and buildings. Innovation in the supply chain and shifts in the broader market make initiatives in these areas relatively straightforward to execute and commercially attractive.

We are incorporating sustainability into building design, aiming for all new property investments to be net-zero for at least 100% of their regulated energy usage. This initiative has resulted in both significant emissions reduction and increased resilience of physical and human assets as a result of preparing buildings for the climate tomorrow as well as today.

Bridges Fund Management Ltd. (Financial Services)

Just under a third of all key initiatives target capability building, both within the company and in the broader value chain. Initiatives include engagement and education; measurement and reporting; strategy, governance, and planning; and green financing. The investment in capability building points to both the challenges inherent in designing and executing an effective climate programme, and the early stage of many of the programmes.

We launched a programme called ‘Breaking the Plastic Habit’ to reduce single-use plastics at Canary Wharf and create a culture of reuse rather than disposal. Through this programme, we engaged with tenants, customers, staff and local community members, providing education and collaboration opportunities to drive the circular economy.

Canary Wharf Group plc (Construction & Real Estate)

Around 10% of key initiatives aim to address other challenges but contribute to addressing climate mitigation as a significant and intentional co-benefit. Circular economy initiatives, which typically target waste reduction, can help enhance resilience against physical climate risks as well as reduce emissions.

The linear economy has become unsustainable. We are working with businesses to embed the circular economy into their procurement practices by selling refurbished IT equipment at much lower prices than new models and collecting and reusing their old IT equipment.

RECONO.ME (Telecommunications, Media & Technology)

Two thirds of initiatives are contained within the operational boundaries of the business, but 40% include some downstream (customer, client or consumer) consideration, and considerably fewer involve the upstream supply chain. The lower frequency of supply chain-focused initiatives is an indicator of the challenges related to fragmentation and uneven influence, not the immateriality of emissions.

We think this initiative will influence the industry and its supply chain to change, and because of that we must take the financial risk. The market won't change until someone says it has to, and we feel that we have to raise the bar first, and pass it down the supply chain. We are encouraging other players to source steel responsibly too, in order to make more progress.

Lendlease (Construction & Real Estate)

While over 70% of direct initiatives are expected to deliver positive commercial outcomes, there is typically less certainty about the impact on emissions or resilience. Impact needs to be designed into initiatives with more specificity, and companies need to enhance their ability to track performance.

We will be locating all our new offices closer to public transport in town centres, adding electric vehicle charging points into new buildings and using more green energy in our buildings. Initially, there was push back from senior teams because the return on investment was too low, but we are going back to this because of the longer-term benefit.

CGI Inc. (General Services)

Direct impact initiatives

56% of the initiatives described as most impactful by businesses are aimed at directly reducing the emissions of the business. Initiatives classified as having a direct emissions impact include those focused on low-emission energy generation or consumption; transportation; energy efficiency in buildings; low-carbon materials and goods; production efficiency; offsetting or carbon capture; or low-carbon construction.

30%

of key initiatives assist to build competencies and capabilities, indicating capability-type initiatives are being used as the first steps for organisations embarking on their climate journeys.

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Initiatives with climate as a co-benefit

13% of initiatives focus on waste management or the pursuit of circular production. Plastic is a particular point of emphasis. While these initiatives have broader sustainability goals as their main focus, they often deliver a co-benefit in terms of both lower emissions and enhanced resilience.

Outcomes

Businesses are only able to quantify the impact of c.50% of direct high-impact initiatives and c.38% of co-benefit high-impact initiatives, perhaps indicative of how early many companies are in their climate journey and the difficulty that some encounter when trying to put hard numbers to changes that may involve suppliers, customers, and non-financial metrics.

Case studies

Climate adaptation and resilience: the poor cousin to the race to net-zero?

The majority of climate initiatives identified focus on reducing emissions and meeting net-zero targets. Businesses also need to adapt and remain resilient to physical changes in the climate. Only 13% identify physical risks, and just 2%, adaptation focussed projects. Why aren't businesses focusing on resilience and adaptation. Does this matter?

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Section 03

Organising for change

Change programmes need to reflect the radical transformation required to meet targets and evolving stakeholder expectations

Section 05

Barriers to progress

Barriers to greater ambition and impact appear to be well understood and have some commonality both within and across sectors

Barriers to progress

Barriers to greater ambition and impact appear to be well understood within businesses and have some commonality both within and across sectors

Key figures

Distribution of total responses cited as barriers

Internal (green) and external (blue) barrier responses as a percentage of total responses (excl. others), ranging from most cited to least (i.e., 21% of barriers cited were attributed to company prioritisation and investment).

Distribution of total responses cited as barriers

Key messages

Businesses are facing challenges to developing their climate change programmes on many levels, spanning both internal factors and external influences. The large number and detailed nature of responses suggests these barriers to progress are constraining both ambition and action, despite the urgent need for transformative change.

There is a significant gap between goals and ambitions for our clients and being able to deliver on those targets. This is due to the significant internal and external barriers they face.

Multiconsult (General Services)

The mix of internal and external barriers faced shows how dynamic and complex the environment is; achieving alignment within organisations and across markets is challenging.

Global alignment can be difficult, particular in places such as North America where there is less societal pressure to change.

CGI Inc. (Telecommunications, Media & Technology)

The lack of strategic prioritisation and employee buy-in remain significant barriers to faster progress.

We need to make this agenda mainstream and relevant for all 20,000 employees, while still accelerating and continuing to innovate the bank's approach.

ABN AMRO Bank (Financial Services)

The barriers that a company faces differ depending on the sector, industry structure, external landscape, and the extent of its reliance on policy and regulation.

We have seen many "net-zero” pledges but there are still many external challenges in reducing Scope 3 emissions from buildings, transport, energy, and from the various materials and resources used across industry. It is important that the scale of investment proposed by the UK government is sufficient enough to achieve the end goal of reaching net-zero by 2050.

Coca-Cola European Partners (Consumer Goods)

The need to engage and educate customers and suppliers on climate action reflects the immaturity of the market and is seen as a major barrier to progress in many organisations.

As a nation, the UK is not quite where we would like it to be with regards to supply chain engagement, people, and skills to achieve our long-term targets, including climate science.

Burges Salmon LLP (General Services)

Lack of green skills and awareness at all grades across an organisation (including leadership, management, and technical staff) is hindering faster movement.

We also need knowledge and skills about the environment throughout all areas of the business. To be an environmentally sustainable business, all areas of the business need to be involved and engaged with environmental targets.

Orbit Group (Construction & Real Estate)

Internal Barriers

Company prioritisation and investment, employee buy-in, and company capabilities were the most common internal barriers raised by respondents (52%, 21%, and 16% respectively). Overcoming these often requires integrated and aligned action across the organisation, from the board through to functional leadership, and ensuring programmes have the right level of investment and skills.

52%

of respondents’ most cited barriers were company prioritisation and investment. c.43% stated policy and regulation

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External barriers

Policy and regulation, customer education and engagement, and supplier education and engagement represent the most common external barriers raised by respondents (43%, 32%, and 24%, respectively). The availability of technological solutions and industry structure (20% and 25%) were also raised as barriers limiting progress in a range of sectors.

Market disruption and the pandemic

Businesses are operating within increasingly volatile environments. This includes extreme weather and specific, recent external shocks such as COVID-19 and, for the UK in particular, the end of the Brexit transition period. 17% of respondents cited one or more of these disruptions as a barrier to progress on their climate programmes. These disruptions typically call for immediate responses that divert resources and attention from other activities including climate change programmes.

Section 04

High impact initiatives

There is strong representation of well-established approaches to addressing scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Section 06

Lessons learned

Participants recognise the need for decisive action rather than simply setting goals and developing plans

Lessons learned

Participants recognise the need for decisive action rather than simply setting goals and developing plans

Key figures

Distribution of cited learnings

Foundational Capabilities
16% Setting Goals, Planning & Embedding
9% Effective resourcing & organisation
5% Innovation & Creativity
7% Data & systems & Investment
Consumer Education & Engagement
18% Hearts & Minds
7% Acknowledging External Changes
6% Taking Action
4% Demonstrating Outcomes
Collaboration
9% The Case for Collaboration
8% Stakeholder Collaboration
Resilience
6% Informing
4% Educating
1% Listening & Humility
1% Avoiding Greenwashing

Percentage of responses in each category and sub-category for learnings cited (i.e., 37% of responses referred to foundational capabilities, of which 16% were related to setting goals, planning and embedding climate change action). [Note: Numbers are rounded]

Distribution of cited learnings

Key messages

Setting ambitious goals, developing associated plans, and embedding these into the heart of the organisation (c. 28% of respondents) are key foundations for a successful climate programme, providing clarity to all stakeholders about both the ambition and the delivery mechanisms.

Embedding sustainability at the core of our strategy from the outset has proven to be the right decision for our business.

The Weir Group plc (Energy, Resources & Utilities)

Leadership and pervasive employee buy-in (c. 28% of respondents) are both seen as important to building momentum, creating a sense of agency and driving action.

We have seen momentum build by sharing ownership amongst the group and not just having it sit with one area and making it a part of everyone’s roles. With the efforts taken and the resources committed, we have seen momentum carry through the organisation by creating awareness and more buy-in.

Virgin Money UK (Financial Services)

Collaboration (c. 30% of companies) with a wide range of stakeholders is seen to bring multiple benefits, and in many cases is recognised as being a pre-condition for success given the systemic nature of the challenges that many sectors face in their bids to decarbonise and enhance resilience.

Trust, collaboration, and value creation. You can have the best strategy in the world, but it’s the execution that matter. This requires awareness, understanding and commitment by all stakeholders. Trust and collaboration (internal and/or external) are key.

InterContinental Hotels Group plc (General Services)

Communication (c. 21% of respondents) is highly prized, both in terms of informing and educating stakeholders. This reflects the dynamic external environment, the high expectations from stakeholders, and the early stage of many climate transition programmes.

Communication is vital. We can always communicate more from both an internal and external perspective. You need to make sure your internal team really understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Good Energy (Energy, Resources & Utilities)

Building momentum

The urgency required to address climate change and meet the rapidly evolving expectations of their stakeholders was recognised by c.35% of participants. This requires decisive action rather than simply setting goals and developing plans. At the same time, the scale of change is significant, the level of uncertainty high, and getting programmes initiated, let alone scaled, is hard.

37%

of participants cite a set of foundational capabilities that need to be in place to establish a sustained programme of change.

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Collaboration

Some form of collaboration is cited as a key lesson learned by c. 30% of respondents. The systemic nature of climate change together with the underlying ethos of collective action elevates collaboration as an approach to tackle the uncertainties organisations face

Communication

Communication has been mentioned as a key lesson learned by c. 21% of all respondents. Communication themes include: the importance of informing stakeholders of your approach and progress; educating stakeholders and the broader market; ensuring two-way communication done in the right spirit and with the right tone; and concerns about greenwashing.

Section 05

Barriers to progress

Barriers to greater ambition and impact appear to be well understood within businesses and have some commonality both within and across sectors

Section 01

Drivers of change

The pressure to change has broadened and deepened across stakeholder groups