This month marks both World Environment Day (June 5) and Clean Air Day (June 20), on the latter of which businesses are being asked to signal their commitment to cleaning up toxic air by assessing and addressing their business impact on air quality and make a public statement outlining their commitment to protect children’s health. In the South West we already have the first Clean Air Zone (CAZ) established outside of London, in Bath, with Bristol scheduled to introduce its own CAZ in the Autumn. Of course, it’s not just emissions we are concerned about, it’s the whole sustainability of our organisations from using renewable energy to recycling.
In a recent poll of over 700 IoD members, four in five directors said that it is important for their organisation to operate in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. However, only one in four members feel they fully understand the way in which their organisation can lower its carbon footprint and meet net zero carbon goals. Additionally, a third of members feel that the costs associated with moving towards net-zero goals in their organisation are prohibitive.
The adoption of a common reporting standard around sustainability is also a development that is supported by our members. In a survey of more than 900 members, 70% expressed support for companies moving to a common reporting standard on disclosures relating to climate change and environmental impact.
Additionally, 75% believed either some changes or significant reform to the UK's corporate governance framework is required to take greater account of climate change.
But uncertainty among businesses in overcoming both the costs and the methods required to reduce their carbon footprint proves the necessity for Government-led action. An attainable long-term strategy including green investment incentives, improved access to relevant expertise, and funded reskilling in environmental best practices would be welcomed by businesses committed to navigating sustainability goals.
That’s why we have recently launched our new Sustainable Business Hub, a one-stop-shop for members to discover events, articles, training, and initiatives from across the IoD network and providing a platform for all regions and branches to share stories of success, learning and collaboration. If you haven’t signed up for our series of South West events on sustainability, there’s still time to catch the second 'How a focus on sustainability can improve your business' on June 16th, and third 'Regenerative Business' on June 29th. These sessions will be led by our SW Ambassador for Sustainability James Piper and Paul Pivcevic, specialist in Regenerative Business which is defined as going beyond sustainability and even beyond the circular economy to apply ‘living systems’ thinking as the route to creating value for your organisations.
Climate change has quickly become one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. Sustainability is an important priority for IoD members, and as many businesses join the efforts to decrease their carbon footprint, it is vital they have access to the necessary resources and tools.Muir Macdonald CDir
IoD South West Chair