UK firms more focused on sustainability than others

UK businesses are better-placed and more likely to have a sustainability programme in place whilst the rest are “sleepwalking into a resource crunch”. A survey of 475 senior executives in […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

UK businesses are better-placed and more likely to have a sustainability programme in place whilst the rest are “sleepwalking into a resource crunch”.

A survey of 475 senior executives in the UK, Brazil, China, Korea and US found many are not prepared to address the issue of resource shortages until 2018.

But it said there is a “silver-lining” for companies in the UK as they are currently “best placed to deal with a resource constrained world”. The report suggests they spend the most on sustainability and are the most likely to have a programme with targets in place for managing and cutting carbon emissions, water and waste.

Tom Delay (pictured), Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust said: “UK listed companies are better placed than most for the upcoming resource crunch – could this mean that despite the current shift in the world economic order the UK will gain commercial opportunities as competitors in other markets struggle to cope in a resource-constrained world?”

However, the report also suggests 43% of firms said they don’t monitor the risks to their business of “environmentally-related shocks” such as energy price rises whilst more than half (52%) have not set targets for managing carbon, water or waste reduction. Carbon Trust suggests it could be related to the fact that nearly half (47%) of executives believe that acting on sustainable issues such as those decreases profits.

Mr Delay added: “The research shows that many organisations are ‘asleep at the wheel’ when it comes to addressing sustainability and resource scarcity, doing nothing to address a problem they indicate could hit their operations by 2018. Too often businesses see taking action on resource and sustainability issues as an obligation and a cost.

“We know from our extensive work on carbon that good management of resources can lead to new commercial opportunities and thriving businesses. Currently, many organisations seem to accept that they will have to make significant changes to their business because of resource scarcity and that these changes could impact their profits. But many are sleepwalking into a resource crunch.”