42% of Canadian CEOs
say they’re extremely concerned about over-regulation as a threat to their growth. Of those, 6 out of 10 are focused on the impact of environmental regulation.
62% of Canadian CEOs
say they’re concerned about climate change and environmental damage as threats to their growth.
Sustainability is becoming critical to how a company is judged by its customers, workers, society, investors and the government. As Canadian CEOs navigate climate policy, they’re facing a higher level of uncertainty in how to manage all the moving parts. Over-regulation is still a top concern among Canadian CEOs—and of those who are extremely concerned about it, most are keeping a close eye on how climate and environmental regulations will impact their business and create long-term value.
Across the world, CEOs recognize the silver lining in the climate change cloud: new product and service opportunities. Interestingly, some CEOs whose nations were at the forefront of the campaign to combat climate change—including Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia—are slightly less enthusiastic than they were 10 years ago. More than half of Canadian CEOs disagree that climate change initiatives provide significant opportunities for new products and services. But it’s important to note sustainability is also about environmentally sustainable products (e.g. reducing packaging, improving manufacturing processes, etc.). It’s time to look at where other companies are finding success.
ESG at a glance
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices continue to be a priority for organizations. In this year’s survey, we talked with Canadian CEOs about climate change and environmental sustainability, but “ESG” covers so much more. It encompasses social issues like talent management, product safety and cybersecurity and privacy along with governance matters like board diversity and business ethics.
Environmental concerns are becoming a rising focus for consumers and employees, and organizations need to think about tailoring their products and experiences to meet customers’ desire for sustainability. Entering 2020, most Canadian CEOs see the added benefits of responding to climate change (e.g. improving their reputation in the eyes of stakeholders). The workforce is looking for employers that share their values, and sustainable business practices may influence how the organization is perceived by customers and potential new hires.
Banks and pension funds are well placed to benefit from creating sustainable and eco-friendly investment vehicles to meet the needs of environmentally conscious customers.
Cities and governments continue to develop and implement innovative policies and programs to address ESG and inspire citizens to address climate change and other social initiatives.
Oil and gas organizations are investing in companies and technologies that bring renewable, low-carbon energy to consumers and support their environmental and social goals.
Identify and prioritize goals
Identify your issues and goals to determine where the pressures are likely to be and raise awareness of what needs to happen to make your business more sustainable.
Prioritize these issues from both a sustainability and commercial point of view. This will help you recognize and better manage risk, improve efficiency, revenue potential, growth and other opportunities.
Put sustainability at the heart
Ultimately, organizations that don’t embed environmental and social sustainability into their strategies are missing part of the picture. Embed it in the way you think about, plan and conduct business, including in your culture, values, relationships and employee engagement.
Implement, monitor and measure
Develop and deliver a robust sustainability program that includes prioritized initiatives, enablers, milestones, key performance indicators and measurable targets. Monitor and track progress.
Organizations can work with government, industry, academics and other sectors to accelerate change and avoid duplication. Creating partnerships and alliances with others can amplify and extend your impact.