As companies around the world begin to focus on including corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals in their annual reports, a surprising number of companies in the United Kingdom do not even understand the company's carbon footprint. With a portion of a typical CSR report focused on reducing one’s carbon footprint
, actually knowing this number would be a good place to start.
The survey, conducted by the Carbon Trust Standard
, asked 200 finance managers at some of the U.K.’s largest firms about their company's carbon footprint and the low carbon economy of the future. A surprising number of respondents, 74 percent, said their companies do not currently measure carbon footprints. It is apparent that this is not as high of a priority as it should be.
The survey also shows that 48 percent of companies don’t have clear carbon reduction goals while 16 percent of the respondents didn’t know if their companies had a carbon reduction target. Reducing something that is unknown is difficult at best. These companies need to take the time to actually measure their business carbon footprint.
Another result that I found surprising was that one in 10 respondents doubted the eventual switch to a low-carbon economy. All signs point to a low-carbon economy on a global level, and these signs are impossible to ignore. Thankfully the vast majority of those responded know that the low-carbon economy is coming but there is debate as to when it will occur.
Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed say the low carbon economy switch will take place within the next 10 years, 28 percent think it will happen within five years, and 10 percent say the low-carbon economy is already here. Unfortunately, only one-fourth of those surveyed say their business is prepared for this big change.
The survey also asked these finance heads if the low-carbon economy would provide new business opportunities, and the answers varied drastically by sector. Finance heads in the communications sector are positive about the low-carbon economy with 88 percent responding that this switch will bring new opportunities to the organization. On the other end of the spectrum are professional service firms with only 22 percent seeing opportunity in tomorrow’s green economy.
What are your thoughts on the low-carbon economy of the future? Will it happen in five years, 10 years, or not at all?