The global business community is not prepared to deal with the climate emergency, according to Accenture’s Global Sustainability Services Lead Peter Lacy.
The United Nations Global Compact is a non-binding UN pact to encourage businesses and firms worldwide to adopt sustainable policies.
In its latest report with Accenture, it found that only 18% of CEOs around the world say governments have given them the clarity needed to meet their sustainability and climate change targets.
It also found that 71% of CEOs say they are actively working to develop a net-zero emissions target for their company and 57% believe they are operating in line to keep temperature limits to 1.5 degrees.
However only 2% of these companies have a formal target that has been scientifically validated.
“The 2% Science Based Initiative is frankly woeful,” Mr Lacy told Morning Ireland. “If you haven’t got a science-based target, you haven’t got a target on net zero.”
He said CEOs were very clear in their messages to governments and to negotiators – they want clarity.
“They want a carbon price and a carbon price mechanism, and they want governments to be joined up on that, not just to create national programmes but to have that around different geographies around the world,” Mr Lacy said.
He said the Global South, developing countries that have less capital available, want a 2009 commitment by OECD countries of $110 billion for climate change mitigation, to be honoured and delivered.
And he said, CEOs see “the incredibly slow moving transition in terms of planning applications for wind farms, distributed energy systems, solar panels on roofs, and they want the planning process sped up”.
Mr Lacy said it is in business interest to be more sustainable.
The study found that a number of companies who have already made first mover and fast mover advantage a reality in terms of their competitiveness, sourcing new markets, new services, being able to recruit better talent, reducing their costs because they are using less energy.
“We were hugely surprised by how many CEOs told us they are already experiencing wild fires, droughts, floods that are impacting their supply chain resiliency,” he said.
He added that the capital markets “have woken up” over the past two years.”
Shareholders, investors, asset managers are really asking tough, tough questions and for real data on climate and sustainability targets,” he added.