Energy, Raw Material Prices Top CEO Concerns, PwC Says

by | Dec 10, 2012

Fifty-three percent of CEOs say energy and raw materials costs are the biggest threats to business growth prospects, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

The results from PwC’s Global Annual CEO Survey, which will be released in January, show a seven percent increase over corporate leaders’ concerns last year about energy and raw material costs. The issue has now topped consumer spending and behavior as a top threat, PwC says.

The survey includes 795 respondents from across North and South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

The survey also found:

  • 24 percent of Western European CEOs are concerned or extremely concerned about energy and natural resources costs.
  • 47 percent of CEOs will increase their focus on reducing their environmental footprint in the next year, while 41 percent said there would be no change.
  • One in four CEOs plan to increase investment in securing natural resources critical to business and addressing the risks of climate change/protecting biodiversity.
  • When asked about their businesses’ ability to cope with extreme events, more than a third say natural disasters threatening major trading or manufacturing hubs would have a negative impact on them.

With politicians at last week’s UN climate talks in Doha failing to deliver a long-term agreement on climate change, the responsibility falls on business leaders to address environmental risk, PwC says. On Saturday, nations agreed to extend pollution limits under the Kyoto Protocol to 2020, but the talks were regarded largely as a chance to tie up loose ends and start focusing on a longer-term treaty to be agreed by 2015.

More than one third (38 percent) of corporate sustainability leaders say their CEOs take a long-term perspective on sustainability, according to a Verdantix report published in November. The study also found 12 percent of sustainability leaders say sustainability is a new concept for their CEOs, while 21 percent of CEOs believe sustainability affects quarterly performance, according to executives surveyed.


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