Green Building, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Business Leaders Remain Bullish on Sustainability Goals Despite Economic Concerns

Honeywell recently released its 1Q 2023 Environmental Sustainability Index, a quarterly indicator of key trends pertaining to global efforts in climate change mitigation and other sustainability initiatives.

The global study, which surveyed more than 750 business leaders involved in the sustainability process, revealed that nearly 98% of organizations have been at least somewhat or extremely successful in achieving at least one or more sustainability goals over the past 12 months.

When it comes to meeting their goals by 2030, an anchor deadline year for numerous commitments, there is an increased level of optimism quarter over quarter across all sustainability categories including energy efficiency and evolution, emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and circularity/recycling.

“Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions, organizations remain committed to the fight against climate change and their sustainability goals,” said Darius Adamczyk, chairman and CEO of Honeywell. “While data shows an increased sense of optimism towards reaching goals, we know decision makers are still very perplexed on what their respective journeys and roadmaps look like towards their targets.”

Main Takeaways

More key highlights from the study include:

  • Sustainability goals continue to be perceived as the top corporate priority, cited by 71% of organizations as of one of their top five priorities (highest percentage). North American organizations appear to trail most other regions in establishing long-term sustainability goals. Organizations in Asia Pacific prioritize sustainability goals more than any other region.
  • Most organizations are prioritizing energy efficiency and evolution across geographies, but other categories such as emissions reduction and circularity/recycling showed increased momentum. In fact, 50% of organizations plan to increase budgets related to emissions reduction by over 20% over the coming 12 months.
  • Companies are shifting from primarily process-driven methods for achieving goals to more balanced approaches that combine both technology- and process-driven initiatives. While most organizations focus on process change to achieve near-term goals, over 20% of organizations are using a balanced blend of process and technology with the other 15% leaning heavily on technology to achieve goals.
  • The current economic and geopolitical environment negatively impacts the ability of organizations to successfully achieve their sustainability goals. While pandemic-related concerns were cited as the top barrier to success in the previous report, economic concerns and their impact are now cited as the top anticipated barrier over the coming 12 months.

“The second release of Honeywell’s Environmental Sustainability Index provided new data highlighting some interesting positive shifts in sentiment toward sustainability efforts across sectors,” said Daniel Newman, principal analyst and founding partner of Futurum Research.

“As the macroeconomic environment continues to put pressure on companies to be more efficient, the commitment to sustainability indicates both the importance of meeting sustainability goals and the potential economic value that purposeful investment in sustainability may deliver for companies that prioritize sustainability.”

Corporate Commitments

“I am encouraged to hear companies are increasingly using technology integrations to achieve their goals,” said Evan van Hook, chief sustainability officer of Honeywell. “Regardless of where companies are on their sustainability journey, incorporating technology initiatives into their sustainability strategy will accelerate progress.”

Honeywell itself committed in April 2021 to become carbon neutral in its operations and facilities by 2035 through a combination of further investment in energy savings projects; conversion to renewable energy sources; completion of capital improvement projects at its sites and in its fleet of vehicles; and utilization of credible carbon credits where needed. These initiatives represent a continuation of the company’s sustainability efforts that began in 2004 and have already yielded a reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of more than 90%.

Download the full index and survey report here.

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