Short-termism and finance access biggest barriers to corporate climate action

edie’s inaugural Sustainable Business Tracker Report is based on an in-depth survey of almost 250 business and sustainability leaders from all major UK sectors. The report is exclusively available as part of edie’s new Membership offering.

Businesses of all sizes and sectors are under immense pressure to accelerate progress on sustainability and net-zero. The need to know what other organisations are doing across these areas has therefore never been greater.

Based on the findings of an in-depth survey of 237 in-house sustainability professionals, conducted in October 2023, the new Tracker report highlights both the challenges and opportunities facing corporate climate leadership.

Almost nine in 10 (89%) companies are actively seeking or using investment to support their sustainability and climate action efforts, but actions are being shackled by a range of challenges.

The biggest challenge facing organisational sustainability strategies right now is an “internal mindset focused on short-term gains”, cited by 20% of the audience, with 13% noting that they do not have the funds to implement change.

Additionally, almost 34% of respondents claimed that their finance departments are not engaged with sustainability or climate action, which has limited the scope and ambition of both target-setting and implementing solutions.

These internal issues are being compounded by political uncertainty and instability, with 30% of respondents believing that current political frameworks are insufficient to help them reach their goals. This has dented confidence in the long-term net-zero transition, with around 70% of sustainability professionals no longer believing that the UK will hit its net-zero target by 2050.

Critical policy interventions are required to upgrade energy infrastructure, halt new oil and gas licensing and accelerating the uptake of renewables, according to respondents.

The report, which is available to all edie Members, covers the entirety of the CSR spectrum, and the core functions covered by sustainability professionals. It features insights on compliance with the latest regulatory frameworks, such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), explores the key drivers that businesses are focusing on too improve approaches to strategy, target-setting and ambition and covers a range of solutions – from energy innovation to behaviour change – that corporates are utilising to deliver on said goals.

edie’s new Sustainable Business Tracker & Sector Insight report cuts through the complexity and giving member organisations the information they need to make more informed sustainability decisions.

These quarterly reports are based on an in-depth survey of business leaders, sustainability and net-zero professionals. Each report in the series will include a sector-based supplement – a dedicated section which focused on the nuanced drivers, challenges and opportunities facing a particular sector.


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