The state of corporate climate finance in 2023: Nine key facts and stats

Escalating humanitarian crises and conflicts have led to trade-offs with non-climate programmes.

Our 2023 Business Leadership Survey, which was taken by 225 sustainability and energy professionals. Most work in-house at large businesses in the UK or Europe.

In partnership with Lloyds Bank, we asked several key questions on corporate climate finance.

Are businesses finding it easier, or harder, to get buy-in from the board for green projects amid the energy price crisis? Are finance teams climate-competent, and do they work in tandem with sustainability professionals or against them? How are businesses working with banks and investors on sustainability? And do business leaders want to add Just Transition principles to their strategies?

The survey answered all of these questions and more, providing a valuable snapshop of the state of corporate climate finance in 2023.

Below, we pull out nine of the key findings.

Read the full report for more information and for our methodology notes.

1) Only 5% of survey respondents said the energy price crisis has had no impact on the development and delivery of their employer’s sustainability strategy. This evidences how severely short-term crisis management is impacting corporate sustainability.

2) 32% of people regard acting to improve energy efficiency and a ‘business-critical’ priority for the 12 months ahead. Businesses will need to carefully consider which energy efficiency solutions are the best fit for them.

3) The biggest challenge when securing access to finance for sustainability projects is corporate short-termism. Finance teams can feel insecure about making investments which won’t pay back for a long time, especially in the energy price crisis.

4) Survey respondents said that clear and consistent policy and regulatory approaches from the Government would help to address this challenge. Companies are looking to the Government for advice on how to be more forward-thinking in evaluating the risks and opportunities of green investments.

5) On a more optimistic view only 5% of survey respondents had placed lack of knowledge as the biggest challenge in developing a sustainable business over the next 12 months. This evidences a widespread change in prioritisation of sustainability-related issues and progress in educating staff on environmental topics.

6) 70% of businesses require additional funds to take action or speed up progress to reduce emissions. Knowing where to seek out funding was revealed to be a shared challenge.

7) Almost four in ten survey responsents said their business is either currently receiving, or applying for, grant funding from national or local government sources.But just 15% said they are receiving support from their bank; there is certainly an opportunity for improved collaboration between businesses and their banks.

8) 49% of survey respondents either agree or strongly agree that the Just Transition is a vital part of their organisation’s sustainability strategy.

9) But 30% of survey respondents were unsure about the prioritisation their employer is giving to topics relating to the Just Transition. When asked to elaborate, three in ten said that it had meant nothing to them or their wider teams, or that they were confused about the meaning. This implies that more awareness needs to be spread on this topic as a starting point.


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