Guest comment – Climate protection is becoming a success factor for companies

The world is currently watching Davos with anticipation: in the community in the Swiss Alps, politics and business are currently negotiating the most urgent issues affecting the world. In view of the crises and conflicts, the agenda is well filled: the Ukraine war, supply chain problems and food security are just a few of the points. However, the overshadowing issue is and remains the climate crisis. Quick and practicable solutions are absolutely necessary here, because the effects of climate change are already clearly noticeable in all areas of life.

Harald Breit is CEO of the consulting firm Deloitte Austria. – © feelimage/Matern

The majority of companies worldwide are already feeling it, as a current Deloitte study shows. In addition, many are under pressure from stakeholders to do something against increasing global warming – and this at various levels. Both management and employees as well as regulatory authorities, customers and civil society are increasingly demanding an intensive examination of the topic. This makes it clear that taking measures to protect the climate is no longer voluntary for business people around the world, but is increasingly becoming a central aspect of corporate success.

Fortunately, many companies have already recognized this fact. Climate change has now become one of the most important factors in directing their strategies. And despite multiple crises, most companies are increasing their investments in sustainability. They rely on the use of sustainable materials or the development of climate-friendly products and production processes. On the way to a better, more climate-friendly future, this is an important sign whose importance should not be underestimated.

At the same time, politicians are still too hesitant to implement specific, sometimes disruptive measures: for example, in the area of ​​the more rapid expansion of renewable energies, an amendment to the environmental impact assessment should result in shorter procedures in the future, but there is a risk of such measures in the confusion of competences between the federal and state governments and communities lose much of their effectiveness. Other measures such as an urgently needed climate protection law are still the subject of partisan and federal discussions.

This needs to change urgently. Because the fact is: In order to achieve climate change, fundamental structural changes are an essential prerequisite in addition to innovations at company level. In part, of course, it is also up to the companies to initiate this and not leave the field exclusively to the climate activists.

Overall, the economy has already taken the first steps on the way to a more sustainable world. In view of the urgency of the problem, however, a lot is still happening too slowly and without the necessary determination – restraint is definitely out of place here. What is needed now is a solidarity between politics and business. And rapid solutions are needed to set in motion the all-important change.

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