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Jun 12, 2024

How companies are prioritizing climate action



Jun 12, 2024

How companies are prioritizing climate action



Jun 12, 2024

How companies are prioritizing climate action

If your company isn't taking—or planning to take—action on climate, you're in the minority. That's according to the results of a new survey report from Carbon Direct, conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research. According to the report, 96% of corporate professionals say their organization plans to take action on climate. Fifty percent of professionals say their company has already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Incentives for climate action

The corporate professionals surveyed cited several factors motivating their organizations to take climate action. 

  • Regulations, including emissions disclosure requirements like the California Climate Accountability Act and the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) were cited by about one-third of respondents as a reason their businesses are taking action. 

  • About the same number (34%) also cited reporting under voluntary frameworks like the recently adopted Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures

  • Market forces also serve as major motivators for climate action. Thirty-five percent of professionals noted industrial competitive necessity as a reason their business is taking or planning to take action on climate; 25% percent cited consumer pressure.  

Download the full report: The State of Corporate Climate Commitment

A look at climate leaders

Among the corporate professionals who said their organization is actively taking steps to mitigate their climate impact, a few key themes emerged. 

They are public with their climate plans 

Of the 96% of corporate professionals who say their organizations have taken or plan to take action to mitigate their climate impact, 55% said their companies have already made their climate plans public. Of the 50% of companies that have already taken steps to decarbonize, the number of corporate professionals who say their organization has made its strategy climate public jumps to 83%. This correlation highlights the importance of setting a public goal in holding companies and their leaders accountable for tangible action. 

They measure their carbon emissions annually

Measuring carbon emissions provides a baseline for setting climate targets and deciding where to start reducing emissions. It's also critical for transparently communicating progress against goals. Among the 41% of corporate professionals who say their organization has both set a public goal and begun working towards it, almost two-thirds say they also calculate their carbon emissions annually. By comparison, only 26% of companies that have set a public goal but have not yet taken action measure emissions annually.

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They are acting to both reduce and remove their emissions 

Energy consumption tops the list of focus areas for climate action. Sixty-three percent of corporate professionals said their organizations are trying to limit their energy consumption and/or become more energy efficient in order to limit their Scope 2 emissions. 

While energy efficiency is a top priority, according to the survey, organizations are also taking steps to reduce their Scope 3 emissions. About one-third of respondents said their organizations prioritize sustainable vendors in their supply chains or try to limit business travel. 

But companies aren't just focused on reductions. Almost 40% of corporate professionals said that their company is purchasing carbon credits as part of their climate strategy to address residual emissions, remove historical emissions, and work toward net zero.* Organizations like the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) have recently added guidance that includes carbon removal credits as a part of beyond value chain mitigation strategies. According to a 2023 report from Ecosystem Marketplace, companies who purchase carbon credits are almost twice as likely to decarbonize year-over-year, and they invest three times more into emissions reduction efforts.  

Taking climate action seriously

The findings of this survey demonstrate that companies of all sizes are increasingly committed to taking climate action–and investing more to get it right. Over three-quarters of company professionals said their organization would invest more, not less, in their climate strategies if they received backlash for their approach. 

While companies still face challenges, including budget, skills gaps, and competing priorities, the growing rate of climate action sends an important signal: the future is a sustainable one, and companies are willing to overcome barriers to stay competitive in a net-zero economy. 

* There is a strong scientific consensus that both reducing and removing carbon dioxide emissions are essential to keeping below 1.5 degrees of warming. Carbon removal credits should only be used to address residual emissions and historical emissions as a complement to deep, ongoing decarbonization efforts as part of a comprehensive net-zero strategy.


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