94% of European Businesses see Decarbonization as Critical to the Future Survival of their Business

A new PAC study reveals that while the vast majority of European organizations have set a firm target to achieve net zero carbon status, many admit they lack the clear visibility into current emissions levels or the expertise to build short-term momentum.

There has been a race for businesses across all industry sectors to put a flag in the ground in committing to achieving net zero emissions, in the run-up to the pivotal COP26 event.

But they now mounting pressure to show clear signs of progress in moving towards their long-term emissions goals. Regulators, investors, customers and employees are all demanding action on top of the promises.

The research, supported by NTT DATA, reveals that there is a lot of work to be done to build a solid foundation to drive effective decarbonization strategies. For example, just 6% claim to have a “single pane of glass” view on the carbon footprint of their organization, while 94% rely on manual effort or a patchwork of different technology tools.

Driving forces in delivering gains in reducing emissions

One of the most interesting aspects of decarbonization plans has been the prominent role that business leaders believe that technology will play in helping them deliver on their targets. Underlining the crossover between digital and decarbonization strategies, 88% of European businesses expect their internal IT function to be a driving force in delivering short-term gains in reducing emissions. The study identified central emissions tracking platforms and smart building energy management solutions as the two main technology building blocks that businesses view as essential in supporting their short-term decarbonization ambitions.

How does your organization currently track its carbon footprint?

But it is not just technology that is the key to accelerating decarbonization. Some 87% state that changing employee behavior will deliver significant gains to their progress on decarbonization in the next 2-3 years. Interestingly, the shift to flexible working is viewed as having a positive effect on emissions reduction Many organizations are still getting to grips with the shift to hybrid or more flexible working models, but the large majority (78%) expect it to have a positive impact on their decarbonizations strategy.

New top line potential being driven by decarbonization

Perhaps the most encouraging takeaway from the study is that is that many businesses see decarbonization as an opportunity, with 97% believing that it will open up new avenues of potential revenue. Every single one of the manufacturers and all but two of the energy and utilities companies that took part in the study see new top line potential being driven by decarbonization.

In PAC's opinion, Decarbonization is viewed as a critical challenge that could spell the difference between survival or failure, but could also open new possibilities in creating new products and services or driving improved customer loyalty. From understanding current emissions levels to building new services that help the business transition to less energy-intensive activities, there is a clear point of crossover between digital transformation and decarbonization initiatives.

Alonso Domínguez, Partner Head of Green Deal & Sustainable Engineering at NTT DATA: “As explained in the report, our clients have a clear idea of their needs in decarbonization, and we are aligned with them by providing TIC and technology disruptive tools to optimize the energetic efficiency. This will maximise the use of renewable resources, while minimising the carbon footprint in the whole product value chain. The objective of that is to, among others, achieve a net positive impact the sooner and more effectively possible. We are developing a plan to ourselves to buy and consume 100% renewable energy, working in sustainable buildings and smarter mobility. If we are helping our clients to be carbon-neutral in the short term, we have to lead by example.”

About the study

The PAC study “Europe’s Digital Journey to Net Zero” is supported by premium sponsor NTT DATA. The findings of this study are based on a survey of senior business and technology executives at 200 large and medium-sized organizations, across seven main industry sectors. All of the participants play a significant role in driving their company’s decarbonization strategy. The survey was run in September 2021.

For more information on the study and the option to download, click here