UK bosses less convinced about climate change growth opportunity


Chief executives around the world increasingly believe climate change and the need to mitigate its worst effects will present opportunities to create products and services.

According to an annual survey by PwC, chief executives in China are most confident in that opportunity, with 49 per cent strongly agreeing that ‘climate change initiatives will lead to significant new product and service opportunities for my organisation’. That figure is up from 2 per cent in 2010.

Asked, the same question, CEOs across most of the world’s major economies are also more bullish than ten years ago. Even the US is slightly more confident. Only France, the UK and Canada have gone backwards in terms of sentiment, according to PwC’s findings.

Question: How strongly do you agree or disagree that: ‘climate change initiatives will lead to significant new product and service opportunities for my organisation’? (showing only ‘strongly agree’). Source: PwC

“In 2009, when they were surveyed, they might have been looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which committed for the first time since the Kyoto Protocol to setting new emission reduction targets and deadlines,” posits PwC. “Ten years, and many underwhelming climate change conferences and national commitments later, their optimism has waned.”

A worry, not an opportunity

Despite softening on global warming as a profit centre, almost two thirds of UK CEOs (64 per cent) said climate change is the thing they are most worried about, trumped only by economic uncertainty.

As such, “energy management and the wider sustainability topic is moving into the board room like never before, presenting huge opportunities if the right solutions are available to meet the rising needs at the top of UK businesses,” suggested Tom Haddon, energy, utilities & mining industry analyst, at PwC UK.

He argued that economic uncertainty and climate change “will soon be seen as the same issue”.

See a summary of PwC’s 23rd annual global CEO survey here.

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