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Businesses Adapting Operations to Address Climate, SDG Issues

(Credit: Pexels)

A majority of businesses are changing or planning to change their operations to be more energy efficient and to reduce their carbon footprint, especially as they face greater risks from natural disasters, supply chain transparency and grid failures, according to a new report and survey by Schneider Electric.

Of the businesses surveyed in the databook titled Business Model Transformation, all of which bring in at least $250 million a year, 64% say they have developed a plan or are developing plans to mitigate climate risks and their impacts on their operations. Of the ways businesses are making changes, according to the report, most have adopted or are actively putting plans in place to use environmentally and socially responsible sourcing of their products. Most of the businesses are doing the same with sustainable development goals.

The majority of respondents also say they have net zero goals and Science Based Target initiatives in the works for their companies. Other areas companies are working on in adapting their operations are using wind or solar power, developing micro grids, and using battery storage and fuel cells, according to the report.

Extreme weather events were one of the greatest concerns of respondents with 39% listing that as something that has affected their operations. Another 37% identified lack of transparency in the supply chain as an issue, with a third concerned about the reliability of the power grid.

Weather impacts on power and energy use has been a major concern in 2021 with widespread power outages and use restrictions due to a major winter storm in Texas, drought and fires in California and Hurricane Ida hitting the US. That has made finding reliable power sources and energy efficiency a priority for many businesses.

Developing and addressing SDGs and being on top of accountability of supply chains throughout industry continues to be a focus as companies address shareholder needs and the importance of sustainability in their operations.

Investing in these types of improvements has become a big topic for many businesses, and a recent survey of executives indicates companies will implement big financial commitments within the next year to help implement changes.

While the businesses in the Schneider Electric survey have work to do in adjusting to make sustainability changes, with 21% of respondents considering their companies are significantly advanced in changing their business models in the area and 7% saying they have completely made the adjustments, more than half of the remaining respondents say they have started the process or are evaluating impacts on their operations.

The survey was conducted with businesses from all over the world, most from the United States, United Kingdom and Japan, and were across many industries including manufacturing, retail, transportation and energy.

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