Report: Companies Continue to Set Sustainability Targets Without Understanding How to Achieve Them

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | May 11, 2021

(Credit: Pixabay)

Companies of all sizes across business sectors are elevating sustainability as a core tenet of their practices, yet a new Black & Veatch report discovers that many companies continue to establish targets without a clear understanding of how to achieve them.

Black & Veatch’s Corporate Sustainability Goal Setting and Measurement report finds that corporate leadership teams across all sectors are working to accelerate the shift from discussing and establishing sustainability goals to actively delivering tangible results. How to achieve the most aggressive goals remains an area of uncertainty across business types and scale, the report finds.

Key findings include:

  • More than 80% of companies surveyed with revenues greater than $250 million have set greenhouse gas reduction goals, but 25% are unsure how they’ll meet them.
  • Electric vehicles are being piloted by more than half of companies with revenues greater than $1 billion as a strategic component toward achieving sustainability goals.
  • More than three-quarters of companies with revenues of at least $10 billion are using analytics to reduce energy and water usage, as are more than half of all other companies.
  • Companies are using a combination of capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenses (OpEx) to fund sustainability projects while green and sustainability bonds gain traction.
  • Corporate management and investors are the top stakeholders driving sustainability commitments, far outweighing other influencers such as customers or regulators.
  • Of the survey’s largest companies – those with revenue exceeding $10 billion – two-thirds have set Scope 3 emissions targets, reflecting the growing trend to influence emissions of other companies and activities in their value chains.

Greenhouse gas reductions through the combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy sourcing is viewed as essential for many large companies. Given that enterprise-level power assets can have operational horizons that span decades, companies setting or adjusting targets must understand all options available to them to avoid getting locked into one technology path. By having a clear understanding of technology maturity and cost, as well as the changing regulatory environment, companies can avoid these pitfalls.

The report says that the transition will take time, but many innovative solutions already are here, such as:

— low- and zero-emissions power generation

— advanced renewable energy projects

— alternative-fueled vehicles

— energy storage programs

— other types of carbon-reduction technologies.

The report says that companies must now identify their impact on the global carbon cycle, comprehend the associated climate risks and identify opportunities to conceive, update, or alter their decarbonization roadmap.

GreenBiz Group, in collaboration with Black & Veatch, conducted extensive research into corporate sustainability goals and the strategies being developed and deployed to achieve them. The report is based on an online survey that polled nearly 500 respondents across 14 industry sectors, with additional insight from interviews conducted with sustainability leadership at several Fortune 500 companies.

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