Majority of UK businesses feel energy crisis has delayed decarbonisation plans
Eight in ten UK business leaders believe the ongoing energy crisis will hinder their organisation’s ability to meet decarbonisation plans, citing delayed investments and more immediate challenges to address.
A survey of more than 1,200 large organisations found that 82% of business leaders believe the energy crisis impacts their ability to meet decarbonisation targets.
The survey, published by Schneider Electric, notes that 49% of businesses believe rising energy costs will deliver delays to planned sustainability and net-zero investments, while 34% believe their organisation is now facing more immediate business challenges.
Additionally, 27% of organisations claim that taking action on decarbonisation is currently “difficult”. A further 69% believe that their organisation will still be addressing rising energy costs in the next 12 months, while 21% believe that costs will fall over the next three years.
While this short-term mindset has seen many businesses switch focus, 29% believe that net-zero ambitions will become more of a priority over the next three years. One in 10 businesses believe that national net-zero commitments will fall down the political agenda at that time.
“Business leaders tell us that the energy crisis should be seen alongside the many other challenges they have faced over the last twelve months, including economic pressures, cyber security and skills shortages. Yet our research suggests that some of the UK and Ireland’s largest organisations are ‘kicking the carbon emissions can down the road’, as a result of the energy crisis”, Schneider Electric’s UK and Ireland president Kelly Becker said.
“As fears grow about progress against global commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and the UK’s Climate Change Committee warns of a lack of progress on emissions cuts, the UK and Ireland need businesses and organisations in the public sector to play their part and stick to their net zero and emissions reduction targets.”
Late last year, a survey of energy and sustainability managers at 148 organisations, conducted by edie, found that one-fifth are having to de-prioritise work related to the net-zero transition due to the current economic crisis.
We found that the significant majority of respondents – 75% – believe that the energy price crisis has had at least a ‘moderate’ impact on their employer’s ability to develop and deliver strategies on reducing emissions. For some, the impact was that the price crisis is an accelerator, with organisations choosing to speed up efforts relating to efficiency and clean energy procurement.
Aside from the energy crisis, businesses are still struggling to implement their decarbonisation plans.
A survey of more than 1,000 businesses globally, including more than 100 UK firms, from data management firm Hitachi Vantara found that 82% now have net-zero carbon goals in place. The survey found, however, the goals do not necessarily translate to strategies or implementation plans, with 34% of businesses claiming they were yet to put plans in place to reach their goals.
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