Survey: International Businesses Want Climate Change Regulation
around the world are urging policy makers to take a more coordinated
approach to climate change and introduce regulations to help them
adapt, according to global research released Nov. 27 by law firm
Clifford Chance LLP.
The report, "Climate Change: a business
response to a global issue," examines climate change from the
perspective of a selected cross-section of businesses, including how
they have adapted their outlook and strategies and what they want from
government. Among its findings:
- Globally, four out of every five (81 percent) company
respondents expressed the view that more regulation is needed to drive
business' response to climate change.
- U.S. companies were less enthusiastic compared to other companies
elsewhere in the world; 69 percent considered more regulation
necessary; this compares to 77 percent in the UK, 86 percent in Europe
and 100 percent in Asia-Pacific.
- But 95 percent of respondents in the U.S. believe climate change
regulation will have more impact on their businesses over the next few
years, ranking marginally under expectations in Europe (96 percent),
but above the UK (87 percent) and Asia-Pacific (81 percent).
"The US results reflect growing business sentiment favoring climate
measures that control emissions, spur development of climate-friendly
technologies and solutions, and provide greater regulatory certainty,"
said William Thomas, head of Clifford Chance's Americas Environment
practice, based in Washington, DC.
"Climate change is increasingly high on the agenda of U.S. policy
makers at both the federal and state level. This reality, coupled with
recent Supreme Court jurisprudence concerning regulation of greenhouse
gas emissions, makes it more likely that a national regime will emerge
sooner rather than later, and has prompted several key players to
pursue preferred legislative solutions," he added.
Other key findings:
- The majority of respondents say they are taking steps that go beyond current requirements.
- Respondents are optimistic about climate change business
opportunities, particularly in the long-term. US respondents are most
enthusiastic with more than three quarters of companies predicting
strong long-term future prospects, and nearly 40 percent seeing
possible gains relatively soon.
- The research also reveals that climate change could have a
significant impact on global M&A activity. Globally, nearly a
quarter of respondents say climate change is a reason for considering
the acquisition of a business, while only 7 percent of respondents have
considered disposing of a business due to the impact of climate change
and these are based in the U.S. and the UK.
"This report illustrates how major businesses are responding to the
challenge of one of the key issues being discussed by governments
around the world," said Stuart Popham, a senior partner at Clifford
Chance. "The business climate is changing too, and the results
highlight some of the fundamental issues facing businesses in the
coming years. One of the real turning points will be what happens in
Bali at the United Nations Climate Change meeting."
The survey also highlights the importance of reputation as a key
driver for businesses to tackle climate change issues, ahead of even
pressure from customers, which is currently limited.
"It is striking from the survey just how positively businesses
across all the regions view the opportunities flowing from climate
change," said Thomas. "Their success in realizing such aspirations will
turn in no small measure on their ability to execute strategies that
maximize carbon competitiveness and run with the grain of emerging
The report was based on research and surveys conducted by
Gracechurch Consulting that consisted of 93 telephone interviews with
senior-level personnel at multinational and major companies in the
U.S., UK, continental Europe and Asia; 11 detailed interviews with
boardroom-level executives at major U.S. and UK companies; and
interviews with partners at Clifford Chance.
For more information, go to: http://www.cliffordchance.com.