As COP27 drew to a close, with a breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters, the reality of the global emergency is becoming starker than ever – and against that backdrop, the CCR Climate Coalition has released findings from the first ever independent survey reporting the views and climate concerns of the South East Wales business community.
This groundbreaking survey, conducted by the CCR Energy Team on behalf of the Climate Coalition, reveals a critical need for relevant information, transparent knowledge sharing and practical action by businesses of all sizes and sectors – with an overwhelming number of participants voicing deep and fundamental concerns for the future wellbeing of their organisations, communities, and the planet.
Deep concerns and urgent needs
The findings make sober reading, with 61% of respondents “very worried that climate change will have a serious impact on our lives”, and 28% “genuinely worried that it could lead to the end of civilisation as we know it.”
In terms of the impact of the climate emergency on businesses and organisations, 39% say that is has already had “some impact”, 32% reporting “an increasingly significant impact”, 14% stating “major impact that could eventually change our business model”, and a further 14% saying that it had completely changed their business model.
The survey also explored where organisations sit on their decarbonisation journey, with 36% already taking small steps and wanting to do more, 43% taking significant steps; and an impressive 14% implementing a full environmentally sustainable business model.
When asked to name the biggest practical challenges faced by their organisation on the race to zero, over 90% of the audience identified the three key obstacles as lack of time, lack of budget and a gap in skills and knowledge.
A Climate Coalition with a clear purpose
In the context of those obstacles, respondents viewed the newly-formed CCR Climate Coalition as a vehicle with four main purposes:
- To share best practices
- To promote green behaviours
- As a platform for accountability (in areas such as Carbon Monitoring)
- As a potential support mechanism for Finance/Funding.
Rob O’Dwyer, who as CCR Head of Infrastructure leads the Energy team responsible for conducting the survey, was clear about the significance of its findings:
“The overwhelming theme coming through is the need for urgency. Businesses across our region, of all sizes and sectors, are deeply concerned about the scale of the challenge and the absolute imperative of having the knowledge, tools and means to embed sustainability into their organisations – right now.”
Ynyr Clwyd, who was instrumental in designing and managing the survey as part of the CCR Energy team, emphasised the opportunity as well as the challenge:[OR1]
“Yes, the survey is stark in its findings; and that’s just reflecting the reality of the current situation. The positive news is that there is a passionate desire by the businesses of our Region to do the right things, and do them now.
“46% of respondents are eager to attend the CCR Climate Coalition meetings and workshops – and 36% of those who took part in the survey want to help lead the coalition, making decisions as part of a steering group. That augurs well for a Climate Coalition created by and for the businesses of South East Wales.”
Charlotte Davidson of the CCR Energy team noted that the Region’s businesses report a lack of support, with an opportunity for the Climate Coalition to fill this void:
“36% of the survey participants said their organisations were receiving zero support to help them in their green transition – and a further 32% said they only experienced a small amount of support. So there’s clearly a need for the Climate Coalition to fulfil – and the survey findings will bring both a direction and momentum to our work.”
Rhys Owen, Decarbonisation Officer of CCR, explained how this survey is pivotal to the future direction of the UK’s newest Climate Coalition:
“The survey findings reveal a business community that wants to mobilise and act in the face of the climate challenge – and that’s what the Coalition is here to help achieve.
“We’re greatly heartened by the energy and enthusiasm shown by the organisations who want to drive and shape the Coalition, for the good of the business community and wider society in our Region.
“Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll be creating a steering committee that reflects the different sectors of our Region, enabling and empowering them to take the lead in the decarbonisation transition.
“It’s not too late to become part of this Coalition and have your voice heard – just contact [email protected] or [email protected] to get involved.”