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Value creation vs decarbonisation: A CEO dilemma

In PwC’s Annual CEO Survey, leaders reported that corporate realities haven’t caught up with societal demands when it comes to reducing emissions.

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CEOs state their company’s assets and the industry trends are more favourable to creating financial value than to reducing GHGs

How favourable are the following factors with regard to your company’s ability to create financial value or reduce GHG emissions?

(Showing only ‘moderately favourable’ and ‘very favourable’ responses)

  • Create financial value
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
My company’s specific assets, capabilities and relationships
57% 45%
The industry’s long-term trends
51% 39%

As stakeholders increasingly demand a meaningful commitment to decarbonisation, many CEOs find themselves navigating complicated terrain. In PwC’s 25th Annual CEO Survey, chief executives reported that their company’s assets, capabilities and relationships, as well as the long-term trends in their industry, were considerably more favourable for creating financial value than for driving greenhouse gas reduction. That jibes with the priorities of investors as expressed in a separate PwC survey: only 19% said they were prepared to take a hit on their returns exceeding one percentage point in the pursuit of ESG goals. It’s clear that progress on decarbonisation will be limited without bold action from CEOs stewarding critical corporate resources. Such action includes rethinking incentives and skill-building, and initiating an unprecedented level of cooperation among business leaders, government officials, policymakers, investors and nongovernmental organisations.

Take a deeper dive into PwC’s latest CEO Survey

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Peter Gassmann

Peter Gassmann

Global Strategy& Leader and PwC’s Global ESG Leader, PwC Germany

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