Feasibility of many companies’ sustainability ambitions is questionable


Despite the fact that countless companies have pledged to become more sustainable, few of them appear to be in a hurry to do so, according to research by project developer and climate solutions provider South Pole. In fact, they are setting their targets so far in the future that the feasibility of their ambitions is very questionable. And although adaptation to climate change is regarded as an absolute priority, many companies lack a clear strategy, not to mention budget.

South Pole conducted a survey among 200 companies worldwide about their plans to become more sustainable. The findings reveal that more and more companies are making serious commitments to become greener. Almost half of the companies indicate that they have set net-zero emission targets; in other words, they aim to become carbon-neutral operations. However, in many cases these are not science-based targets (SBTs) and can hardly be called realistic, according to South Pole. 60% of the respondents have set themselves a target date of 2040 or beyond, or have not even set a specific date by which to achieve their commitments.


The study further underlines the extent to which the private sector is struggling with climate change. A total of 58% of the companies surveyed cited climate adaptation as a key priority. However, only one in five believe they have a clear strategy for dealing with a warming world, and just 7% of the respondents have actually freed up extra budget to carry out these plans. Perhaps surprisingly, consumer pressure is the main factor driving companies to take climate action, with increasing government regulation or policies having very little impact.