Business must play its part in tackling climate change – IoD

Jun 29, 2019

BUSINESS leaders are ready to lead the fight against climate change, a new survey reveals as the G20 Summit continues in Japan.

The environment will be a key theme at the G20 and, with the UK government committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the survey of almost 2,000 business leaders and managers conducted jointly by the Institute of Directors and Chartered Management Institute reveals that the vast majority are already committed to the essential role that businesses play in tackling climate change:

  • 9 out of 10 directors and managers believe that business leaders should be taking action to mitigate climate change
  • 4 out of 5 directors and managers state that their business is already taking action to tackle climate change.

The top three actions already taken to tackle climate change are:

  • Reducing the amount of waste produced 
  • Introducing energy saving initiatives across the business 
  • Reducing the amount of travel undertaken 

The IoD and CMI know the net-zero target can only be achieved with the support of leaders and managers from organisations of all sectors and sizes across the UK. Both bodies are calling on government to produce and promote practical guidance for all companies, regardless of size or industry, on how they can contribute to the 2050 target.

Simone Robinson, regional director for IoD East of England said: “Many IoD members in the East of England region are not only taking the top three actions identified but many of them are actually involved in the CleanTech sector and would be pleased to engage with other CleanTech organisations within the region, those across the UK and indeed from overseas too. 

“As keen advocates of the ‘Enterprising East’ as an encompassing identity for this amazing region we endeavour to also promote the Enterprising East as an environmentally responsible region .”

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Across business, it seems like the argument for tackling climate change has been won. This is one of those rare issues where the Government faces a broad consensus on a policy issue and should be able to get on the front foot.

“Sustainability should be core to good management practice, and an integral part of every organisation’s business model. Today’s best leaders and managers know that the next generation of young professionals want to work for purpose-led organisations which are aware of their impact on the environment.

“Government can support businesses with practical guidance on how they can contribute to the national target. Regardless of what happens in Westminster in the coming months, it is comforting to know that this issue will be driven forward by inspirational leaders and managers.”

The IoD’s interim director general Edwin Morgan said: “Long-term sustainable success is the basic principle of good corporate governance, so it’s no surprise that directors overwhelmingly feel it’s one of their responsibilities to tackle climate change.

“When it comes to addressing the risks posed to the environment, the impetus to change must be shared by everyone. The Government has raised the bar by setting a challenging emissions target, but it can only be achieved if businesses respond, with boards setting a clear direction which is embedded throughout their organisations.

“Members of the IoD and the CMI clearly agree they must play their part, and it is vital that leaders in business of all shapes and sizes contribute to this ambitious goal.”

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