• Schneider Electric’s Pacific Zone president, Gareth O’Reilly.
    Schneider Electric’s Pacific Zone president, Gareth O’Reilly.

New national research demonstrates that Australian businesses recognise the imperative of achieving net zero emissions but are not acting quickly enough to address this urgent challenge.

The findings of Schneider Electric's Sustainability Index 2023, which surveyed over 500 key decision makers across corporate Australia, highlights the need for increased momentum in decarbonisation efforts.

The report reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) claimed that sustainable transformation is needed to drive a competitive edge for companies.

This figure was the highest in the manufacturing industry, with 82% agreeing that sustainability creates a competitive edge.

Over two-thirds (69%) of businesses also agree that Australia must meet net zero emissions targets to remain economically competitive.

Schneider Electric’s Pacific Zone president, Gareth O’Reilly, said it is clear businesses recognise the strategic importance of sustainable transformation. “With less than 80 months until 2030, the challenge for businesses now is to fulfil that strategic opportunity at pace,” he said.

Despite growing awareness and commitment to sustainability, the survey reveals that many businesses are falling short in implementing decarbonisation strategies. Only 52% of respondents across industries reported discussing or having a decarbonisation strategy in place. This indicates that a significant portion of Australian companies have yet to fully commit to the transition to a low-carbon future.

“To achieve the necessary emission reductions, it is essential that businesses set ambitious targets and map out the path to achieving them,” O’Reilly said.

“Many of the steps companies can take to improve energy efficiency and introduce their own renewable energy supply will not only improve their bottom line, but also protect them from volatility in energy supplies and pricing.” 

The survey reveals that 42% of companies expect to achieve zero Scope 1 emissions by 2030, which refers to direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Additionally, 37% aim for zero Scope 1-2 emissions, which adds indirect emissions from generation of purchased electricity, heating, and cooling consumed by the company. 

Finally, 34% of businesses aspire to achieve zero Scope 1-3 emissions, which encompasses all indirect emissions in the value chain, including those associated with the procurement and use of products and services and are the hardest to achieve.

O’Reilly said the time for incremental change has passed.

“We must act with urgency to secure a sustainable and prosperous future. The moment is now,” he said.