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2023 CxO Sustainability Report: Accelerating the Green Transition – Australia

Deloitte’s 2023 CxO Sustainability Report: Accelerating the Green Transition, part of a global survey of executives, takes a deep dive into Australian business leaders’ perspectives and actions on climate change and sustainability. Building upon Deloitte’s first CxO Sustainability Report in 2022, between September and October 2022 Deloitte surveyed more than 2,000 CxOs across 24 countries – including Australia. The report identifies key recommendations for organisations to help close the gap between ambition and action on climate, and to accelerate progress to a low-carbon economy.

Key insights from Australian executives:

  • Climate change features prominently as one of the top three issues facing executives, behind the economic outlook and the search for talent, with 68% of executives reporting increased investment in sustainability over the last year.
  • While Australian business has proudly led the charge on climate action, participants recognise that regulators are catching up fast, signalling the start of a shift from voluntary action to mandatory transition. 78% of executives say a fast-changing Australian regulatory environment motivated climate action in 2022.
  • Our report found most Australian business leaders (79%) remain optimistic that economic growth can be achieved while also reaching climate change goals.
  • 56% say climate change is likely to impact their companies’ strategies and operations to a “high/very high” degree over the next three years.
  • 57% say they feel concerned about climate change all or most of the time.
  • 80% are somewhat or extremely optimistic that the world will take sufficient steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
  • 63% of Australian CxOs cited their employees as a reason for the organisation’s actions on sustainability.

Head of Deloitte Access Economics, Dr Pradeep Philip, said:

“Australian business executives are starting to see the shift from voluntary action to mandated change. The recent proposed change to the safeguard mechanism and emissions targets for big polluters show the regulatory environment is changing. This trend is likely to continue, marking the end of the age of voluntary action and the beginning of a new period of mandatory transition.

While executives are united on some of the key benefits of climate action such as brand recognition, employee engagement and positively impacting a shared world crisis, only 31% cited investor returns as a key benefit of accelerated climate action. Done right, rapid decarbonisation presents the single biggest growth opportunity for Australian business, and we expect to see this recognition shift as fast movers take the benefit of stakeholder demand for action.”

Recommendations to accelerate the green transition

Deloitte’s 2023 survey shows that CxOs do believe that both their organisations and the global economy can continue to grow while reaching climate goals and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So, how can they help close the gap between ambition and action?

Our report offers several recommendations to help CxOs get started, including embedding climate goals into their overall business strategy and purpose, building trust by taking credible climate actions, empowering the board, encouraging stakeholder action, investing in today’s (and tomorrow’s) technologies, and collaborating to drive systems-level change.

Read the Australian perspective here: Download the report

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