Sustainability in the C-Suite

Since the UK set legally binding targets to reach net zero emissions by 2050, a steady stream of organisations have stepped forward to set their own ambitious targets to reduce emissions. It has been suggested that investors are increasingly expecting organisations to take action to minimise their environmental impact, putting pressure on boardrooms to get serious about sustainability.

To gauge how ready UK boardrooms are to drive sustainability and carbon reporting forward, Cold Chain Federation member Inspired Energy spoke to over 80 Finance Directors from businesses across all industries, from manufacturing to financial services.

The results were clear; carbon reduction needs to become a C-suite priority. In order for businesses to transform their operations and activities, to unlock both reputational and environmental benefits, sustainability efforts must start at the top.

WHAT’S DRIVING SUSTAINABILITY?

The pressure on organisations to prioritise sustainability is rising from all angles, so it’s unsurprising that the leading driver for many businesses to implement a carbon reduction plan is the impact on their reputation. Other driving factors include the Government’s target to reach net zero, introduction of mandatory emissions reporting schemes and impact on corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials.

HOW ARE BUSINESSES MEASURING UP?

49% of those we spoke to have a corporate sustainability plan in place they’re actively working towards. Only 16% confirmed that although they have a plan in place, they are yet to implement it, but a staggering 35% of organisations don’t have a plan at all. How does your organisation compare?

THE ROLE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Just 38% of businesses have recruited, or are planning to recruit for boardroom roles that are dedicated to increasing the organisation’s sustainability. Almost 43% of businesses do not have roles that are specifically tasked with reducing the organisation’s carbon impact and have no plans to recruit for such roles currently.

OBLIGATION OR OPPORTUNITY?

Many large businesses have had to comply with mandatory reporting schemes for over a decade. The most recent scheme, the Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) scheme applies to more organisations than ever, with 11,900 companies now required to report on their energy usage and carbon emissions. This new style of reporting is a challenge but with the right support and advice, can present your business with a range of commercially and operationally beneficial opportunities, especially when raising the business case for carbon reduction at board level.

Download your copy of our Sustainability in the C-Suite report here.

A SECTOR-BY-SECTOR VIEW

Before setting a goal for your organisation, you need to have a firm grasp of your current rate of carbon emissions. Start by establishing your carbon footprint through robust data collection and disclosure.

Each organisation will have a different carbon footprint and a different route to achieving net zero, depending on a whole range of factors, from board agenda to the balance sheet.

STRIVING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The direction of travel towards sustainability is a step change from the days when cost alone was the primary factor for consideration. Our research shows that the C-Suite has come to realise the challenge of carbon reduction and the benefits it can have, including reducing energy costs, improving public image and ultimately protecting the environment.

A ROADMAP FOR SUSTAINABILITY SUCCESS

Measures taken to reduce carbon emissions, cut waste and help balance our grid have the potential to reduce spend, create new revenue and build commercial resilience for the future.

Speak to Inspired Energy on 01772 689250 or email wayne.brown@inspiredenergy.co.uk.  

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