British bosses increasingly worried by climate change – survey

Climate change has leapt above populism, terrorism and access to capital on the list of what keeps British chief executives up at night, according to a study.

Almost two thirds (64%) of UK bosses are now worried that the changing climate could threaten their business, the survey found.

Meanwhile, a quarter said they are extremely concerned about the issue, three times more than in 2016 when only 7% of bosses were that worried.

It makes UK bosses considerably more concerned than those in the Middle East, where 38% think climate change threatens their organisation, and China, at 45%, according to the survey by PwC.

However, British chief executives still lag behind their counterparts in Sri Lanka and New Zealand, where 86% and 83% respectively said they think it is a threat to their business.

Sri Lanka was the sixth most affected country by climate change in 2018, according to the Global Climate Risk Index.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner of PwC, said: “The impact of climate change has soared up the CEO agenda.

“CEOs see the impact across all aspects of business, from assets and investments to products and jobs. They are facing pressure from their consumers to play their part.”

He added: “This means boards need to assess their strategies, risks and business models.

“Achieving net zero by 2050 will demand innovation and transformation at an unprecedented scale and speed and will require business to take positive action.”

But more than half (51%) of the UK bosses that PwC surveyed saw the upside of initiatives to tackle the problem, saying that climate change initiatives would lead to significant new product and service opportunities.

The climate leapt up the agenda in the UK last year when the Government introduced a target to make Britain emissions neutral by the middle of the century.

There have also been mass protests by children, led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, and by Extinction Rebellion.

Globally, over-regulation was still the main issue that chief executives are extremely concerned about.

Trade conflicts leapt up the list from fourth to second place.