Sustainability top priority for business leaders, report finds

Seventy-five per cent of organisations are prioritising sustainability initiatives.

Honeywell has released its 2Q 2023 Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), a quarterly indicator of key trends, sentiment, and progress on global climate change mitigation and other sustainability initiatives and produced in partnership with The Futurum Group.

The ESI surveyed more than 750 business leaders directly involved in their organisation’s environmental sustainability initiatives, at a time when ESG-related regulations and global calls to action are mounting.

The third edition of the ESI revealed that sustainability continues to lead all other corporate initiatives, including digital transformation and market performance, and now by a 19-point gap.

Across all geographies, energy evolution and efficiency is the top sustainability priorities over the coming six months, followed by emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling initiatives.

This trend is aligned with the previous two quarters, but circularity/recycling is showing more growth than any other category, indicating that organisations may take a deeper look at their supply chains and flow of materials to elevate how products, services, or resources are renewed or regenerated, rather than wasted in the second half of 2023.

“Our data shows that companies aren’t wavering in their commitment to sustainability,” said Vimal Kapur, president and COO of Honeywell.

“Not only are leaders keeping it at the top of the priority list despite other looming challenges, but they are also increasingly taking actions.

“This upward trendline in optimism goes hand-in-hand with technology adoption — more organizations are turning to newer, more efficient, more sustainable technologies to help achieve their goals. Honeywell’s solutions are ready now to support ESG efforts and help organizations around the world reach their sustainability targets.”

In 2022, ESI data showed organisations were overwhelmingly focused on process-driven approaches to environmental and sustainability initiatives. In 1Q 2023 that shifted with more organisations taking a balanced approach to their initiatives.

A technology driven approach was also growing, albeit at a slower pace. However, this quarter, the shift towards tech driven approaches increased. 56 per cent of respondents noted leveraging more technology for achieving environmental sustainability goals over the coming 12 months.

Evan van Hook, chief sustainability officer of Honeywell, said companies are continuing to invest in technology that helps them achieve their environmental sustainability goals.

“We are seeing firsthand our customers take action to achieve goals, whether it’s switching to sustainable aviation fuel, tracking and reducing carbon emissions from buildings, or increasing advanced circularity solutions, such as plastics recycling. With AI becoming more prevalent, technologies will only get smarter and more efficient, and make an outsized impact on sustainability efforts.”

More key highlights from the study include:

  • Many businesses continue on track with their previously-set sustainability commitments towards 2030 and are feeling positive about achieving them. Optimism for achieving those goals across all categories has increased quarter over quarter. Globally, 75 per cent of respondents cited optimism in achieving overall environmental sustainability goals across all categories by 2030.
  • When asked about achieving near term goals within the next 12 months, respondents cited confidence in achieving overall environmental sustainability goals with optimism increasing 1 per cent from last quarter to 74 per cent.
  • The Asia Pacific (APAC) region continues to prioritise sustainability goals more than any other region including EMEA, North America, and Latin America. APAC also reports “extreme success” across all four categories: emissions reduction, energy evolution and efficiency, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling. However, Latin American business leaders are the most optimistic with 84 per cent expressing confidence in their organisations’ ability to achieve ESG goals by 2030.

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