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News - 2 May 2008
Climate change knocks on the boardroom door

Bosses unsure how to fight climate change

According to a recently published KPMG survey of senior UK business executives, 85% think that climate change is a significant business issue and 77% think it will grow in importance. Yet, 82% admit they still don’t have a strategy in place to respond to the issue.

The latest research carried out by KPMG Carbon Advisory Group, reveals that many business leaders are struggling with the issue and how their firms should respond. When compared to a similar study carried out on behalf of KPMG in May 2007 it seems the number of executives who think climate change is a significant issue has remained the same, but the numbers that have managed to convert this sentiment into a clear strategy increased by just 3%.

When asked, 40% of executives claimed to have a good understanding of the impact of climate change on their organisation and a further 17% know their organisations carbon footprint and have a clear strategy in place. Less than one in ten (7%) however, knew that the UK had committed to cut 60% of green house gas emissions by 2050. 

The latest figures released by the Government showed that carbon emissions fell just 0.1% in 2006, highlighting the size of the challenge facing consumers and businesses alike.

The results also revealed that an increasing number of UK executives, did not think the Government was doing enough to educate business on how to tackle climate change. In the last six months the number of people sharing this view jumped from 42% to 58%.

Richard Sharman, Partner and Head of KPMG’s Carbon Advisory Group said: “Business is looking for improved communication and a clear regulatory framework from the Government to provide certainty so that they know where to focus their emission saving efforts. Any significant investment in new carbon efficient business practices or energy saving technology is unlikely to go ahead until they fully understand the impact of regulation.”

The results also confirmed that climate change hadn’t made it on to the board agenda of a third (34%) of those questioned. A fifth (21%) stated that it was not likely to be become something discussed at board level in the near future.

Sharman continued, “Our survey shows that the majority of business leaders still don’t treat climate change as an economic issue that can have a positive or negative impact on the bottom line. Even by taking some very simple steps now and gathering basic energy and emissions data, a business is less likely to be caught out by legislation when it does come and they could be cutting wastage and energy bills in the meantime.”

When asked about the challenges around implementing carbon management strategies, getting buy in from employees is the biggest hurdle according to 25% closely followed by influencing partners and suppliers to adopt more carbon efficient practices (24%).

On the specific measures adopted to tackle climate change:

  • 77% of businesses are recycling or using recycled products
  • 67% are using energy efficient appliances
  • 53% claim to be educating their employees about environmentally friendly business practices
  • 31% are reviewing and updating their existing business model
  • 22% are working to achieve carbon neutral status
  • 22% are donating to organisations/charities that are combating climate change

For support and advice on reducing carbon emissions in your business log on to and

For more information on business and climate change click on the business and climate change button in the left hand column.

Click here to download a copy of the KPMG Survey

Read related items on:
Climate Change
Carbon Trust

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