Report: Most businesses without climate plans in no rush to develop them

New research has revealed that nearly half of businesses (46%) have not yet developed a strategy to reduce their carbon emissions. Moreover, nearly 70% of these businesses lacking an emissions plan express no inclination towards initiating one in the foreseeable future.

Report: Most businesses without climate plans in no rush to develop them

This is according to a new joint report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and PwC, which surveyed approximately 1,000 senior finance professionals worldwide.

The survey findings emphasise the urgent need for business strategies to combat climate change.

The report underscores a concerning trend; nearly half of the respondents have yet to devise a plan aimed at reducing their carbon footprint, while a nearly three-quarters of these businesses without an emissions plan express no intention of developing one, presenting a considerable obstacle in the pursuit of a low-carbon future.

The report emphasises that the chief financial officers (CFOs) can steer these organisations towards sustainability.

While not consistently taking full ownership of the sustainability agenda, CFOs are now getting increasingly assigned with the responsibility of spearheading these initiatives within their organisations, according to the report.

The ACCA’s chief executive Helen Brand said: “The accountancy and finance profession can enable organisations to achieve their net-zero ambitions in a fair and inclusive way. They can also support the just transition to a low-carbon economy by helping their organisations to seize the associated business benefits.

“As COP28 begins, this report is a call to action for professional accountants everywhere to play their part in helping their organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and support the climate transition.”

How can CFOs drive the net-zero transition?

The study stresses the necessity for finance teams to acquire the essential skills and expertise required in navigating the complexities of sustainability.

This entails striking a balance between addressing immediate financial priorities and enhancing capabilities to support long-term net-zero initiatives.

The report outlines several key actions derived from ACCA’s roundtable discussions and research findings.

These actions include the imperative need for finance professionals to upskill and comprehend the evolving landscape of sustainability reporting and business models.

Additionally, the report emphasises leveraging data-driven insights, developing new performance management frameworks and bridging the communication gap between finance and sustainability experts within organisations.

Industry experts, responding to the report findings, are advocating for a shift in organisational mindsets, urging finance professionals and sustainability experts to collaborate effectively, aligning goals and strategies to drive sustainable business practices.

Related news: Sustainability reporting most sought-after skill in corporate finance departments, poll finds

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