Climate change is of great concern to UK companies, executives say

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Shadrach   in Life style & General

Last updated: 21 January 2020, 11:54 GMT

Up to two-thirds of UK chief executives believe that climate change poses a threat to their company, with 25 per cent saying they are "extremely concerned" about it.

UK business leaders now consider climate change more a threat to business than populism, terrorism, protectionism and access to capital, according to PwC's annual global chief executive survey.

After 2016, when it was seven per cent, the number of those "highly worried" has more than tripled.

Senior Sri Lankan and New Zealand executives around the world are the most concerned about climate change, at 86 per cent and 83 per cent respectively.

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The least bothered were those from China and the Middle East, at 45 and 38 per cent respectively.

PwC's chairman and senior partner Kevin Ellis said:

The impact of climate change has exploded the agenda of the CEOs.  CEOs see the effect, from assets and investments to goods and employment, across all aspects of business.  We are facing market pressure to play their part.

Achieving net zero by 2050 will require innovation and transformation on an unprecedented scale and speed, and will require positive action from business.

Perhaps most alarming was the fact that only 21 per cent of UK business leaders believe they're seeing successful climate change policy change.

Commenting on the results of the survey, the CBI's head of energy and climate change James Diggle said:

Tackling climate change will require international action and entrepreneurial leadership. The business community is well aware of a warming world's impacts and their role in making the transition to cleaner energy and low-carbon technologies.

Undertakings in the UK have endorsed our ambitious net-zero emissions goal for 2050 and want to use the UN COP26 climate change conference deadline in Glasgow to kick-start UK's net-zero preparations and see how much we can do by 2020.

This afternoon PwC launched the survey at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which this year focuses on sustainability issues.

Climate change demonstrators have started a three-day walk to the summit, including teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has planned extensive security measures.

Prince Charles, who will call on business leaders to lead the advancement of climate solutions as he launches a new plan to foster a sustainable economy, is also going into the exclusive summit.

Many chief executives believe that climate change will also bring benefits for their company whilst it is a threat.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters believe their response to climate change efforts would offer a reputational advantage to key stakeholders for their company.