APAC businesses struggle to reach net zero amidst climate threats

Technical complexities and lack of resources hinder sustainability efforts.

Despite aspirations to achieve net zero by 2030, many businesses in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region find this goal challenging due to various substantial barriers, as highlighted in a survey conducted by Kearney. The survey, which gathered insights from about 1000 business leaders across nine countries, sheds light on the complex issues hindering environmental initiatives.

Kearney Partner Chui Lee outlined the primary obstacles reported by business leaders. "The first is complexity and capabilities. 65% of the executive cites high levels of complexity in overcoming technical challenges," Lee explained. 

Additionally, a significant 63% of executives noted that the quantity and quality of resources are primary obstacles in driving their organisational sustainability strategies. "Addressing these challenges requires a change in how businesses operate today," Lee added, emphasising the need for cross-functional expertise and collaboration across departments and beyond company boundaries.

The survey further revealed organisational issues as a critical barrier, with 55% of business leaders expressing concerns about adopting new ways of working and fostering cross-functional ecosystem collaboration. "Companies struggle with lack of clarity on where and how to start with sustainability initiatives," said Lee, highlighting that nearly half of the respondents feel overwhelmed by the initial steps toward sustainable practices.

Technological advancement and government support were also identified as vital areas needing improvement. About two-thirds of the business leaders believe that technological advancements could significantly speed up decarbonisation efforts, yet substantial investments are still required. 

The concept of 'regenerative action' was discussed as a more advanced stage of environmental responsibility beyond mere sustainability. "Regenerative businesses seek profits while achieving system-wide net positive transformation and value creation," Lee stated, describing regenerative action as enhancing long-term resilience, risk management, and stakeholder relationships.

However, the path to regenerative sustainability is not without its challenges. Lee highlighted that only 42% of the business leaders across the region state their organizations are adopting a regenerative approach, indicating a need for broader understanding and implementation of these practices. Despite this, 86% of leaders still believe that organisations across all industries can achieve a net positive impact within the next decade.

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