Most organizations remain committed to their environmental sustainability goals, despite macroeconomic challenges and a potential recession in 2023. That’s according to the most recent quarterly Environmental Sustainability Index from manufacturing and technology company Honeywell, released January 31.
The company’s first-quarter 2023 outlook shows that most organizations plan to increase their investments in climate-related initiatives and energy-transition solutions over the next 12 months, with the majority of those surveyed saying they’ve had some success in pursuing “green” goals over the past 12 months. For the report, Honeywell surveyed 750 business, technology, and sustainability professionals directly involved in the planning, strategic development, implementation, or oversight of environmental sustainability goals and initiatives. The professionals represented businesses from around the world and across a range of industries. Nearly all—98%—said they have been “at least somewhat or extremely successful” in achieving one or more sustainability goals over the past 12 months.
Compared to the previous quarter’s report, respondents also said that they are more optimistic about meeting certain goals by 2030—an anchor deadline year for many commitments—including energy efficiency and evolution, emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and recycling, according to the report.
Honeywell produces the index in collaboration with research firm Futurum Research.
“The second release of Honeywell’s Environmental Sustainability Index provided new data highlighting some interesting positive shifts in sentiment toward sustainability efforts across sectors,” Daniel Newman, principal analyst and founding partner of Futurum Research, said in a press release announcing the findings. “As the macroeconomic environment continues to put pressure on companies to be more efficient, the commitment to sustainability indicates both the importance of meeting sustainability goals and the potential economic value that purposeful investment in sustainability may deliver for companies that prioritize sustainability.”
Other study findings include:
Sustainability goals continue to be perceived as the top corporate priority, cited by 71% of organizations as of one of their top five priorities, according to the report.
Most organizations are prioritizing energy efficiency and evolution across geographies; other categories such as emissions reduction and circularity/recycling showed increased momentum. Half of organizations said they plan to increase budgets related to emissions reduction by more than 20% over the coming 12 months.
Companies are shifting from primarily process-driven methods for achieving goals to more balanced approaches that combine both technology- and process-driven initiatives. While most organizations said they focus on process change to achieve near-term goals, more than 20% of organizations said they are using a balanced blend of process and technology, and 15% said they are leaning heavily on technology to achieve goals.
Current economic and geopolitical concerns are an issue as well. Pandemic-related concerns were cited as the top barrier to success in last quarter’s report, but economic concerns and their impact are now cited as the top anticipated barrier over the coming 12 months.