UK leading the way in climate transparency in the energy and chemicals sectors

Nearly three quarters (71%) of energy and chemicals companies in the UK said they have publicly stated climate impact targets, according to a sentiment survey carried out by commodity intelligence firm ICIS.

This is the highest figure in Europe and compares with just 15% of respondents in Germany self-reporting publicly stated climate impact targets, and only a quarter (26%) in France. The survey included over 1,000 executives within the energy and chemicals sectors.

In good news for the sector ahead of the COP26 event in Glasgow later this year, 99% of the UK companies surveyed had either internal or publicly stated targets in place, and nearly two thirds (64%) of those say they are set to meet their targets this year.

Alison Jones, Strategy Director at ICIS, comments: “As a result of the current climate crisis and in the run-up to COP26, there is mounting pressure on companies from consumers and regulators alike to rapidly to show the steps they’re taking to reduce their climate impact. However, the industry needs more support and a clear policy framework from the government. For example, a lack of investment in collection infrastructure, delays in the introduction of the DRS and the low UK recycling figures compared to other major European packaging producers, are just a few of the areas that need addressing to drive industry forward and towards greater circularity of plastics.”

The largest incentive for meeting climate change targets among UK companies is the “belief that it is morally correct” (33%). A similar number (30%) say they are motivated by profit or potential new business opportunities, reflecting the growing profitability of sustainability-based businesses across Europe, and the potential cost of ignoring the climate change emergency.

This was closely followed by new regulations set out by governing bodies (29%), highlighting the regulatory pressure companies in the energy and chemicals markets are under when it comes to climate change.

Alison Jones continues: “It’s imperative that chemical and energy companies start making significant shifts to their business operations. The industry has a responsibility to look beyond the boundaries of their own organisations. They need to push for standardised information so that approaches can be compared directly, help generate cradle-to-grave analysis of every potential material, set targets to achieve circularity of resources, and assist consumer education about the pros and cons of each material to enable them to make informed decisions.”