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Press Releases Sustainable Business

IoD: Only a quarter of firms have a well worked out plan to reduce their carbon impact

02 Nov 2021


In a poll of over 600 business leaders, it is clear that firms are not yet confident in their ability to meet net zero goals. The survey found that only 28% of directors’ organisations measure their carbon impact, with only 27% having a well worked out plan of how to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, only 16% have indicated that their organisations have set a date by which they will achieve net zero.

Significantly, 51% of business leaders believe that it is the role of the Government to provide advice and guidance to businesses on how to reduce their carbon impact, with 43% believing that Government needs to decide the best way for firms to measure their footprint. 47% also state that the price of carbon should be raised to incentivise firms and individuals to switch to other energy sources.

In order to support businesses’ transition to net zero, the Institute of Directors is calling for the following:

  1. For directors and business leaders to place the climate transition at the heart of corporate strategy and board decision-making, and to define a credible route to net zero for their organisations.
  2. For government to work in close partnership with the IoD and other bodies to increase sustainability awareness and know-how amongst SME directors, such as through appropriate training, advice and certification programmes.
  3. To embed consideration of climate change and environmental impact into directors' fiduciary duties through reform of Section 172 of the Companies Act, as set out by the Better Business Act campaign.
  4. For the UK Corporate Governance Code to be updated to include a clear recommendation for the boards of larger companies to establish sustainability committees.
  5. For policy-makers to endorse the establishment of a voluntary Code of Conduct for Directors which would include a commitment to sustainability and the achievement of net zero goals.
  6. For the Financial Conduct Authority to mandate the independent directors of investment funds to oversee the fulfilment of sustainability requirements by fund managers, in order to minimise the use of ‘greenwashing’ in the investment industry.
  7. To incentivise faster decarbonisation efforts through the expansion of market-based carbon pricing mechanisms, which balance the need for meaningful progress towards net zero with the equal imperative of enabling business to make an orderly and phased transition.
  8. For policy-makers to increase consumer transparency around climate impact across supply chains, in line with the rewired.earth initiative, and establish a global regulatory framework which defines a consistent approach to emissions disclosure.

Alex Hall-Chen, Senior Policy Advisor at the IoD, said:

“As world leaders meet in Glasgow to discuss and agree a global response to the climate emergency, it is clear that businesses closer to home are looking for Government to offer guidance and support to enable them to play their part.

“The Government’s recent Net Zero Strategy was a welcome first step, but further action is needed to help businesses to meet decarbonisation goals – too few businesses have concrete plans to measure and reduce their carbon impact.

“It is only through close collaboration between business and government that we will be able to meet net zero goals. We urge the Government to work in close partnership with business to make net zero a reality and we are setting out some clear steps which can be undertaken to ensure that sustainability is embedded into corporate culture.”

The IoD is committed to playing a leading role in sustainable business, both in terms of its own activities and as an advocate in the business community and with policy-makers. The IoD Sustainable Business Hub brings together sustainability related events, news, educational content and other initiatives occurring across the IoD community into a single, easily searchable location. The IoD’s own sustainability policy can also be read here.


Full Survey Results

608 respondents, conducted between 13– 29 October 2021

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?


Agree strongly

Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree

Disagree strongly

Don't know

My organisation measures its carbon impact.

8%

20%

24%

30%

16%

2%

My organisation has a well worked out plan to reduce its carbon impact.

7%

20%

26%

31%

14%

2%

My organisation has decided to become a zero carbon organisation by a specific date.

6%

10%

25%

36%

20%

3%

It is the role of government to advise business on how to reduce its carbon impact.

12%

39%

28%

11%

9%

1%

It is the role of government to decide the best way for firms to measure their carbon impact.

11%

32%

27%

18%

11%

1%

Government should regulate to require firms to become net zero by a specified date.

10%

26%

19%

21%

23%

1%

The cost of transitioning to a zero carbon economy should mainly be met by government through general taxation.

5%

19%

28%

29%

17%

2%

The price of carbon should be raised to incentivise firms and individuals to switch to other energy sources.

12%

35%

24%

15%

12%

1%


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