CEOs views on climate change

PWC has just published it’s annual CEO survey, which this year includes a specific section on climate change, with an eye on the UN negotiations in Paris in December (COP21). The report is mostly written in fairly anodyne “business case” language, with lots of talk of “risks and opportunities” and taking a “strategic view”, but it includes some interesting statistics, such as the fact that 56% of CEOs are worried about the “risk” of further climate change regulation. Almost 2,000 CEOs were polled four times in the past year to generate the data.

In the report, PWC distinguish between four stages on the “climate leadership journey” (sic): sceptics, operationalists, opportunity seekers and advocates. They see the latter as those “taking an activist stance with policy makers”, an interesting description and the first time I’ve seen “activist” and “CEO” in the same sentence…

One of the most interesting statistic from the analysis is that only 46% of CEOs believe that the outcome at COP21 will have a significant impact on driving action on climate change, which raises questions as to the importance of what goes on at Paris. Instead, they call for governments and the public to do something about climate change, a passing of the buck familiar to me from my PhD interviews. However, 75% of CEO do believe that “better info on impact of business” will drive action on climate change. Perhaps that is something for researchers to tackle…always assuming business will listen to the results!

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