Business leaders want action on sustainability

22nd May 2012

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Related tags

  • Natural resources ,
  • Supply chain ,
  • Corporate governance ,
  • Water



Seven out of 10 chief executives polled by PwC want policymakers attending Rio+20 to agree more ambitious action on issues like energy, water and sustainable development.

The UN conference on sustainable development opens on 20 June in Rio de Janeiro and the PwC survey reveals that as issues of energy affordability, water scarcity and climate change move to become strategic business concerns, the gap between sustained and sustainable development needs to close.

The business services company polled 141 CEOs of companies with annual revenues of between $10 and $10 billion. Eight-severn per cent say affordable energy is important to their business, with the proportion reporting it will become very important increasing significantly, from 39% now to 60% in 2022. CEOs also have mounting concerns about water scarcity and climate change, with 78% claiming both will be very important to their business by 2022.

Malcolm Preston, global lead, sustainability and climate change, PwC said: "Global threats and challenges of sustainability are now clearly on the radar screen for multinational companies. Affordable energy, resource scarcity, water stress and climate change are all expected to become bigger, more pressing issues for corporate strategy within the next 10 years, and that is a shorter window than the time frame for most major investments.”

Despite the growing importance of energy, water scarcity and climate change, many business leaders do not expect much progress to made at Rio.

Chief executives believe private sector pledges, such as emissions reductions targets, or national / regional regulation, or taxation would be far more effective in driving action than global goals and targets.

Thirty per cent of those polled claim that the Millennium Development Goals are not effective at all, while quarter rate international treaties like the Kyoto Protocol as ineffective.

"The Rio + 20 summit can shape the vision and drive the ambition. But business has more confidence in 'bottom up' driven actions than it has in 'top down' ones," said Preston.

"Over 90% of CEOs signalled that regional or national regulation and fiscal measures, along with private sector investment, are the most effective mechanisms for driving investment and change.”


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