British companies are choosing profits over sustainability, contrary to public expectations: Study
- A new study revealed a huge disparity between public opinion on how businesses should behave regarding environmental and social issues and how companies conduct themselves.
- Half of the business decision-makers in Britain surveyed have no
net-zero strategyplanned for their companies.
- The survey clearly shows that businesses are failing to align with the growing need for climate-related strategies.
AdvertisementThe need for climate action has become apparent to almost every rational individual across the globe, yet many of us fail to translate this awareness into action. Similarly, the urgent requirement from companies to take appropriate action towards
Where several countries across the globe have pledged to turn carbon neutral in the next few decades, business decision-makers in Britain are still choosing profits over sustainability, says a new report by
The study revealed a huge disparity between public opinion on how businesses should behave regarding environmental and social issues and how companies conduct themselves. Half of the surveyed business decision-makers in Britain have no net-zero strategy planned for their companies. The public opinion, on the other hand, supported the notion that companies should have a plan. In fact, every three out of four Britishers surveyed this notion, according to the
What is a net-zero strategy?
In simple terms, “net zero” refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
India is also committed to becoming a carbon-neutral country and was able to reduce its GDP emissions intensity by 24% between 2005 and 2016. However, the global Climate Action Tracker (CAT) rates India’s 40% non-fossil fuel electricity capacity target as ‘critically insufficient’ and its emissions intensity target as ‘highly insufficient’. Therefore, since government-backed action alone cannot help achieve long-term sustainability, businesses must step up and contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation.
Three in ten (30%) senior business decision-makers surveyed said that their purpose was to generate profit over sustainability, growth or purpose. On the other hand, 42% of British adults said businesses should balance profit with social and environmental justice and a further 25% saying a business’ purpose should be to make a positive impact on society, says the report.
“At a time where social inequality is growing, and time is running out to meet the target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, our survey shows that the British public expects and believes that businesses should be taking an active role in combating these issues,” said Professor Ian Thomson, director of the Centre and author of ‘Urgent Business: Five myths business needs to overcome to save itself and the planet’ book.
Businesses failing to align their policies with the desired climate-related strategies
The survey clearly shows that businesses fail to align with the needed climate-related strategies. When asked what would inspire businesses to act more responsibly, more people said they believed a business would change out of fear of public boycotts, where only 7% of businesses said this would make them more sustainable.
“These findings show that the public greatly overestimates its power to influence change in business behaviour. However, this could be a brilliant opportunity for businesses. 28% of people said they want to choose the most sustainable option if given clear and trustworthy information about the environmental and social impact of a product, whereas only 13% of businesses believed the same,” Thomson added further.
There also seems to be a major gap in the amount of action taken by smaller and larger businesses. The survey results indicate that very few businesses are taking any radical steps towards becoming more sustainable, and only larger businesses are making incremental changes.
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