The purpose-led Just Transition is gathering pace

As part of edie’s Corporate Climate Finance report, Jonas Persson managing director, head of sustainability & ESG finance at Lloyds Bank looks at how corporate sustainability continues to evolve on the road to a just transition.

The purpose-led Just Transition is gathering pace

Farmer woman has invested not only in land but also wind energy watching the turbines

As I’m writing, I’m sitting in my home office on a Sunday evening, nibbling on the last remaining Easter egg, and someone will definitely get upset when they realise I’ve finished it. I wanted to take a bit of time challenging myself to understand what the 225 responses to edie’s Sustainable Business Leadership Survey tells us.

It’s been just over two years since we announced our new Sustainability & ESG Finance team at Lloyds Bank and it’s been a period of excitement and an overarching sense of growing momentum. But is there a risk that I’m blinded by the energy and determination of the clients and colleagues nearest to me, and of course the growing challenges of inflation, excessive energy and labour costs, and disrupted supply chains. Despite these challenges, I was still anticipating some moderate optimism that, overall, the sustainability journey is still very much gaining pace.

The survey results put my mind at rest, with four out of five business leaders expecting to be more committed to take action on sustainability in 2023 compared to 2022. This response reflects the gradual move towards the implementation phase, after years of developing ambitions and targets. Another positive data point is the shift towards improved engagement, with very few participants indicating they are disengaged or left behind. But, of course, we should acknowledge that most people responding to this survey are likely to have reasons to be engaged. We should be more concerned about the people and companies not responding to the survey, and how we reach them and influence them.

A clear alignment between core business values and purpose was called out as the most important corporate attribute as we consider future business leadership. Working for an institution with a very clear and strong purpose underpinning everything we do, I would agree with that. This has made a real difference in our ability to transition our business towards a more sustainable model, both in terms of our own operations and how we support our clients.

Having said that, the transition is becoming increasingly complex as we need to incorporate nature and biodiversity, and in addition, we should ensure that any actions to transition leaves no one behind – companies, communities, or people.

It is comforting to learn that only one in five disagree that a Just Transition is a vital part of their organisations’ sustainability strategy. That’s a strong base to start from and by sharing successes from regional initiatives, we will be able to improve that view further. We are looking forward to build on our current engagement with clients and customers, learning how we can continue to improve our support for a transitioning Britain.

The 2023 Corporate Climate Finance Report

This new report provides a detailed analysis of the edie and Lloyds Bank 2023 Corporate Climate Finance Survey, which was taken by 225 sustainability and energy professionals.

The inaugural edie and Lloyds Bank 2023 Corporate Climate Finance Survey investigated the drivers, challenges and opportunities when it comes to mobilising and scaling up finance which accelerates corporate climate action.

Click here to download the report.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie