Corporate execs confident on sustainability goals, admit more work needed

Most companies have hit their near-term goals for greenhouse gas reduction, and some have advanced circular-economy projects. But to get to net-zero emissions, suppliers, customers, and dedicated corporate teams will all be needed.

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Most industry leaders, Sunil said, have also indicated that economic volatility will not affect their sustainability plans significantly, meaning “sustainability investments are a strategic priority for organizations.”

Time to 'play offense'

There are various other actions corporate leaders can take, according to McKinsey’s Krishnan.

First, they need to “play offense” through a sustainable value creation strategy. In doing so, two objectives should be paramount: extend and decarbonize the core business and build new sustainable businesses in reshaped value chains.

“Leaders need to make quantum leaps to meet the moment, by getting smart on climate tech fast, engaging with the innovation ecosystem, and leveraging their engineering and business-building talent,” Krishnan said.

Secondly, corporate execs can try to get ahead in the area of biodiversity, which involves stewardship of shared water and air resources, ensuring a responsible supply chain, and contributing to a just transition, among other steps.

Third is the need to maintain resiliency in the face of stronger weather events brought about by climate change.

“Lastly, as companies embrace a sustainable future, they will need to cultivate new skills and should aggressively reskill leadership teams, boards, and frontline workers,” he said. “Companies need to identify the skills needed for their more sustainable business models and work toward acquiring them and building them internally.”

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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