Growth and efficiency main drivers for net-zero

Sustainability is now the top global business investment priority, and the overwhelming majority of companies see clear competitive advantage from their sustainability focus and the goal of achieving net-zero carbon.

A global study to evaluate progress sustainability-focused companies have made highlights these drivers, with interviews and an online survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by and developed in collaboration with Johnson Controls, finding that to accelerate decarbonisation efforts, companies must align with stakeholder demands, collaborate with partners on transparent sustainability roadmaps and effectively measure the progress of sustainability initiatives.

“The survey clearly shows that business leaders see sustainability as the number one business priority and that increasing investment in sustainability initiatives to improve business efficiency, reduce harmful environmental impacts and address urgent climate challenges, is top of mind,” said Katie McGinty, vice president and chief sustainability and external relations officer at Johnson Controls. “We also see a clear trend of customer demand for unique service and partnership models that allow them to focus on their core business while we drive customised, scalable steps for planning, execution, financing and reporting for their sustainability journeys.”

Seventy-two per cent of respondents indicated that implementing or maturing their sustainability programmes is not only a top priority, but has also increased in importance over the past two years. Respondents found that embracing sustainability opportunities gave their organisons a competitive edge. More than 8 in 10 companies that recognise sustainability as an important business priority report benefits in the form of improved brand reputation (89 per cent), decreased costs (89 per cent), improved customer acquisition and/or loyalty (86 per cent), and revenue growth (83 per cent). In fact, 86 per cent have a long-term goal for reducing carbon emissions by 2025 or earlier. By investing in decarbonization efforts, companies hope to attract customers who share similar environmental values while also addressing the needs of investors.

Companies at every maturity level report they have realized or expect to realize a variety of benefits, with 9 in 10 or more of sustainably engaged companies seeing benefits in the form of improved efficiencies (96 per cent), improved compliance (95 per cent), improved employee recruitment and/or retention (90 per cent), and reduced waste (90 percent). Companies are investing in people, process, and technology improvements because they understand that it takes a multi-faceted approach to achieve sustainability progress and success.

However measurement remains a confusing and difficult area with only 26 per cent of respondents having ESG reporting software to help measure their progress and nearly 40 per cent of respondents believe their organisations have a shortage of internal expertise, preventing them from tracking their carbon footprints effectively.

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