Business has rising concerns over climate

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business CorrespondentAAP
Australian executives largely see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change.
Camera IconAustralian executives largely see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change. Credit: AAP

Two new surveys have highlighted the concerns of business in dealing with climate change, which risks putting trillions of dollars at stake unless rapid action is undertaken.

A report by Deloitte has found 74 per cent of Australian executives see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change, up from 52 per cent only eight months ago.

Two thirds of executives expect climate change to have a high or very high impact on their organisation's strategy and operations over the coming three years, highlighting the urgency to act.

Still, despite the increasing levels of concern, the report - 2022 Deloitte CxO sustainability report - finds the vast majority of business leaders in Australia remain optimistic there's still time to act.

It found 89 per cent agree that with immediate action, the worst impacts of climate change can be limited.

This compares with 80 per cent eight months ago.

"No action is insignificant but certain activities and decisions 'move the needle' more than others and those bolder actions from business leaders are needed now while there is still time to limit the damage," Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen said.

Previous Deloitte modelling for the Business Council of Australia shows inaction on climate change could cost the economy $3.4 trillion by 2070.

But rapid, focused action could grow the economy by $890 billion, adding around 200,000 jobs in that same period.

Meanwhile, new research by Mastercard found 76 per cent of Australian organisations say sustainability is critical for success in their industry.

At the same time, 81 per cent of Australian consumers claim they are already actively seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Almost half said they would actively avoid shopping at a business that did not source its products sustainably. One in 10 went as far as saying they would only purchase from sustainable businesses by 2024.

Mastercard division president Australasia Richard Wormald said the research reinforces that implementing sustainable business practices must be a key agenda item for 2022 and beyond, alongside the need for leaders to take collective action against climate change.

"Tackling the global climate crisis isn't possible without everyone's involvement, no matter how big or small their footprint is, and Australians are looking to organisations to step up and do their part in protecting the planet," he said.

"Taking collective action provides an opportunity to reduce overheads and time-consuming administration for SMEs while contributing to a greater output and result for the environment."

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