Accounting and consulting firm KPMG’s upcoming 2021 CEO Outlook survey found that nearly a third of CEOs plan to invest more than 10% of their revenues toward sustainability measures and programs over the next three years. However, 77% of CEOs feel government stimulus is required to meet net-zero emissions targets.
The survey asked more than 1,300 CEOs from top companies throughout the world about their views on market trends and their plans over the next three years. The survey was conducted between June 29 and August 6 and included leaders from 11 key markets (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK and US) and 11 key industry sectors (asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications).
In a preview of its findings, KPMG summarized CEO attitudes on climate change action. In the most recent survey, climate change tied with cyber security and supply chain as CEOs’ number one reported risk to growth. This is up from last year’s survey, when climate change ranked fourth.
Increased CEO concern with the environment has been spurred by “stakeholders putting immense pressure on businesses to tackle climate change and leave a positive impact on society,” reports KPMG. According to the 2021 survey, 58% of CEOs said they face increased demands from investors, regulators and customers to report on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) performance and 27% are concerned that failing to meet climate change expectations will result in public markets not investing in their business.
Additionally, 42% say they struggle to tell a compelling ESG story.
In a survey of 5,050 CEOs conducted in January and February, business advisory firm PWC similarly found that “more than a third of US CEOs surveyed said they’re adopting new ESG disclosure standards and/or enhancing reviews of their disclosures.”
Commenting on the survey’s findings, KPMG Global Chairman and CEO Bill Thomas stated, “I’m encouraged about what the future holds because business leaders are acknowledging that they need to be the drivers of positive change, supporting measures to tackle environmental dangers.”