Greenwashing is the Main Concern of Executives at Top Companies, According to Deloitte Survey


Executives are generally optimistic about the long-term benefits of investing in environmentally sustainable practices, but external economic and geopolitical factors are threatening corporate progress on climate and sustainability, according to a new survey released by multinational consulting firm Deloitte.

For the new report titled “2022 Climate Check,” Deloitte, in collaboration with Oxford Economics, surveyed 700 executives in 14 countries and across all major industry sectors, in companies with revenues ranging from $250 million to $10 billion.

The survey, conducted on the eve of the COP27 climate change conference, examined the state of climate action from the perspective of business leaders.

The report found that most executives were optimistic about the results of their sustainability initiatives, with 87% of respondents saying that environmentally sustainable practices have long-term economic benefits, and 75% agreeing that their organizations can continue to grow as they reduce carbon emissions.

Chart: Deloitte

Some numbers

Many respondents indicated that the events of the past year will affect companies’ sustainability initiatives, with nearly half (45%) reporting that the war in Ukraine and inflation have caused them to cut back on their climate and sustainability strategies over the next 12 months. However, while some are holding back, 37% said they plan to accelerate sustainability efforts over the next year.

The report indicates that most organizations are actively pursuing climate action strategies, with nearly 70% of respondents stating that their companies have developed and initiated implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and about another 25% have strategic plans that are expected to begin implementation in the next 1-2 years.

In addition, 57% of executives stated that their organizations have invested in the technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations.

Chart: Deloitte

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According to the survey, “greenwashing” has become a major concern for companies, with two-thirds of executives saying it has become a serious concern in their sectors.

Greenwashing also topped the list, at 41%, of climate-related issues that executives felt should receive the most attention globally, second only to national and international security risks from changing weather patterns, at 50%.

Other key issues were ensuring a just transition (41%), and corporate transparency and accountability (34%).

Similarly, when asked what governments should do to encourage companies to address climate change in the run-up to COP27, combating greenwashing ranked first, with 63%, followed by minimizing the risk of investing in clean technologies, with 57%.

More than half of executives responded that governments should implement a carbon tax to encourage companies, while 44% said they should force companies to report on climate change.

Chart: Deloitte

To read Deloitte‘s findings report, click here

By Antonio Vilela

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