Australia drought swimming hole

Australian business leaders are increasingly concerned about climate change and believe that the world has reached a tipping point, with a new report finding that Australian organisations are more concerned about climate change than the global average. 

The 2022 Deloitte CxO Sustainability Report, which surveyed more than 2000 business leaders across 21 countries including 102 in Australia, found that 75 per cent of Australian executives are “very concerned” about climate change and believe the world must act now to minimise its impact. This is up from 52 per cent last year, showing that there has been a significant shift in opinion in just eight months. 

Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen

According to the report, Australia ranks among the top 10 countries in the world concerned about climate change. It found that 86 per cent of leaders recognise the climate crisis and 89 per cent agree that with immediate action, the impacts of the climate crisis can be reduced.

“The climate agenda has gone from being Australia’s most divisive issue to being something that we (almost) all agree upon,” says Will Symons, Asia Pacific climate and sustainability leader at Deloitte. 

But Mr Symons stated that business leaders are “not yet convinced” there is a link between climate action and business revenue, margin, and asset values. 

“There’s a disconnect between the recognition of the need to act, and the actions that must follow.”

The report aimed to better understand the concerns of business leaders and how to bridge the divide between concern and action. It found that while the majority of Australian leaders are focused on incorporating climate into their strategies and operations in the next three years, there is still much more that needs to be done.

Modelling last year from the Business Council of Australia projects that climate inaction could cost the economy $3.4 trillion by 2070. But immediate and focused action could grow the economy by $890 million in the same period.

Lack of direction from government 

Australia is one of the worst carbon culprits on the world stage, and has attracted international criticism for its climate inaction. 

And with a federal election expected in May, the Morrison government still lacks a detailed roadmap towards net zero. 

This may be the reason that over half of survey respondents believe their organisation is being affected by regulatory and political uncertainty.

According to a report from the Australia Institute’s climate and energy program in October, climate concern in Australia is at an all-time high of 75  per cent in Australia, as more than 80 per cent of Australians want to phase out coal power stations. 

“Climate change is both a critical challenge and critical opportunity for Australia,” Deloitte Australia chief executive Adam Powick said.

“If we are bold, decisive and co-ordinated, we can mitigate downside climate risks and help attract investment, create new jobs and support our regional communities,” Deloitte Australia chief executive Adam Powick said.

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