Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen. Source: Deloitte
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  • Almost three-quarters of Australian executives see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change, according to a new Deloitte survey
  • The data comes from the latest Deloitte CxO Sustainability Report, which is based on a survey over over 2000 global business leaders — including 102 in Australia
  • The survey finds 75 per cent of Australian executives are “very concerned”, with 74 per cent believing the world is at a tipping point for climate action
  • This puts Australia among the top 10 countries most concerned about climate change from a corporate level, according to Deloitte
  • Still, despite the concern, 89 per cent of Australian executives say they believed there is still time to act and that the worst impacts of climate change can still be mitigated

Almost three-quarters of Australian executives see the world at a tipping point for responding to climate change as environmental concern soars among business leaders, according to Deloitte.

The data comes from the latest Deloitte CxO Sustainability Report, based on a survey of over 2000 business leaders across 21 countries. According to Deloitte, 102 of these business leaders were in Australia.

The survey found 75 per cent of Australian executives said their companies were “very concerned” about climate change, with 74 per cent seeing the world at a tipping point to act. This is far higher than a similar survey from just eight months prior that found 52 per cent of executives thought it was crunch time for climate change action.

Deloitte Asia Pacific Climate and Sustainability Leader Will Symons said the survey confirmed what many people had been hearing: corporate Australia was now leading the country’s climate change response.

“The climate agenda has gone from being Australia’s most divisive issue to being something that we (almost) all agree upon — 75 per cent of surveyed Australian CxOs say their companies are very concerned about climate change, and almost all told us their companies and themselves personally have already been impacted,” Mr Symons said.

He said the challenge, then, becomes convincing business leaders of the link between climate action and value creation.

“Creating value through a climate change response requires a proper understanding of risk and opportunity, developing a holistic strategy, integrating responses into operating models and workforce capability, and monitoring and disclosing performance.”

Australia is among the top 10 countries most concerned about climate change, according to the Deloitte report, with 95 per cent of Australian executives saying their companies have already been impacted by climate change, though these impacts come primarily through operational and regulatory impacts, the costs of mitigation, or societal pressures.

Further to this, more than half of the Australian executives surveyed said their organisation was being impacted by regulatory and political uncertainty.

Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen said the battle against climate change wasn’t one choice, but billions of choices.

“No action is insignificant, but certain activities and decisions ‘move the needle’ more than others, and those bolder actions from business leaders are needed now — while there’s still time to limit the damage,” Mr Renjen said.

“It’s time to prove we’re up to the challenge.”

Australian companies are much more likely — at least 10 per cent ahead of the global average — to be implementing these “needle-moving” actions, according to Deloitte.

Still, despite the increase in concern, the vast majority — 89 per cent — of Australian executives surveyed said they believed there was still time to act and that the worst impacts of climate change can still be mitigated.

Deloitte Australia Chief Executive Officer Adam Powick shared similar sentiments, saying “bold, decisive, and coordinated” actions can mitigate downside climate risks.

“This is a national agenda we must own and an opportunity we must seize,” Mr Powick said.

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