Sustainability & climate change issues

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The drivers of the sustainability agenda: PwC's point of view

How your company's actions impact the environment and the community it serves matters to the public. Being competitive and achieving growth matter too. As sustainability rises to the top of the corporate agenda, we can help you put the right strategies in place.



Climate change

According to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control) the impact of human activities is some ten times that of natural and solar factors. The fear is that our influence will cause irreversible catastrophes.  



Climate change's effects are becoming more evident every day. From changing weather patterns and reduced water availability, to deforestation and melting icecaps -- the examples are all around us. So what are governments and businesses doing to address the impact of climate change?

Governments are putting in place strategies to develop green industries like renewable energy, and they're enacting regulations to reduce carbon emissions. On the business side, companies are minimising their own footprint on the environments and communities they work in by adoptingcorporate responsibility agendas and by reviewing their carbon emissions and supply chains.

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International development

“…More than 3,000 examples now of social enterprises, of large companies, of private equity funds in the private sector that are building these models. And yet the UN estimates there are something like 82,000 multi-national companies, let alone the hundreds of thousands of medium domestic companies and social enterprises. So we are just, scratching the surface of what is possible …”

Jane Nelson, Senior Fellow and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative


It's expected that developing regions will be the fastest growing economies over the next five years. This marks a never before seen opportunity for both private sector investment and poverty reduction. But high growth markets are also often low income markets.

To succeed, businesses need innovative models that help low income producers and suppliers develop goods and services that low income consumers will value. The end goal? To improve the standard of living for employees, suppliers, distributors and consumers in the chain.

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Resource scarcity

2.7bn (40% of the world’s population) live in areas which experience severe water shortages for at least one month of the year

Source: Waterwise


Resource scarcity is fast becoming a priority on both the political and business agenda.  What's exacerbating the issue? Things like population growth and rising consumption in developing economies, and geopolitical and environmental factors that impact production and distribution. The result is higher prices, market volatility and a changing supply landscape. 

Because global markets must now compete for resources -- like oil, water, land and agricultural commodities -- there are new cost and efficacy concerns, competition for talent and changing business models to consider.

To get a handle on how scarcity will affect them now and in the future, businesses must build resilience into their supply chains. How? Through innovative new products and more efficient use of resources. They’ll also have to collaborate and build stronger relationships with their suppliers.

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Green growth

During the 2008-2009 recession, many governments focused on green stimulus packages to drive economic recovery, or “green growth‟. In total 15.6% (USD 436 billion) of fiscal stimulus commitments were assigned to green economic activity – Roadmap for a green economy in the Heart of Borneo, PwC, WWF


Air and water pollution, climate change, energy use, natural resource depletion and other issues affect economic development -- but most economic growth models across the world overlook the impact. This needs to change. What's needed are green growth approaches that support economic growth while keeping biodiversity and the environment in mind.

In the developed world that means creating green jobs, technologies and infrastructures that reduce impacts on the environment.

For developing countries more dependent on natural resources and most at risk from climate change 's effects, it means the sustainable use of natural capital and diversifying the economic base to reduce poverty.

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Sustainable finance

Forty billion dollars to be mobilized by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) for country-led low carbon growth



Financial services are rapidly changing as their role, industry structure and commercial realities are disrupted by the complex, interconnected mega trends reshaping the global economy. In fact, many businesses will be unrecognisable by the end of the decade. The list of market leaders too will be very different as smart and agile players outdo slower moving competitors.

Though many leaders are focused on adapting to today’s global instability, planning for the changes ahead creates opportunities for those who:

·         understand the trends

·         value natural capital

·         reward short-term behaviours, which are aligned to long-term strategic outcomes to build organisational resilience and drive sustainable returns.

Is your business model still relevant in the new global economy? Are you trusted? Are you ready?"

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Contact us

Malcolm Preston
Partner, Global Sustainability Leader
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7213 2502

Contact us

Malcolm Preston
Partner, Global Sustainability Leader
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 2502

Louise Scott
Director, Global Sustainability
Tel: +44 (0)20 7804 5068

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