Just 8% of UK businesses have a fully fledged plan in place for climate change despite most firms seeing the issue as a top priority, according to a survey KPMG.
The consultant polled more than 160 business leaders from a range of industries across the UK on their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) credentials, with 82% saying it was being actively discussed at a senior level or on the board's agenda.
However, when asked if they had a clear view of the risks ahead and how to tackle them, only 8% of businesses reported having a fully fledged plan in place, with 89% in early stage discussions, and 3% not at all.
KPMG said that despite the postponement of COP26, the Covid-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated consideration of climate change and social responsibility putting pressure on companies and politicians to “build back better“ and focus on a green recovery.
The survey follows similar research globally by KPMG which reveals ESG is becoming an increasingly crucial area for business leaders. A KPMG global survey of chief executives found 65% are looking to businesses to fill the void in societal challenges and 76% agree that, as leaders, they are personally responsible for change on societal issues.
“Before lockdown, as we counted down towards COP26 in Glasgow, there was growing debate about how to tackle emission reductions and transform the UK into a more sustainable, green economy,“ said KPMG Uk's head of ESG Sue Bonney.
“Although there were a few weeks pause in the early weeks, rather than becoming a distraction Covid-19 has accelerated the focus on the climate emergency. Talk now on any post-pandemic recovery almost always includes climate change at its heart.
“But our survey suggests that, while many businesses are taking ESG seriously, there is a long way to go before we can truly say that everyone is placing it at the centre of their future strategic growth plans.“