What are the biggest barriers to businesses' net zero transitions?

Zurich report outlines challenges

What are the biggest barriers to businesses' net zero transitions?


By Roxanne Libatique

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) and global insights agency Horizon Group have released a new report detailing how businesses are managing their net-zero transition.

The report explores areas where businesses can accelerate their climate transition. The results are based on the Sustainability Executives Survey of 668 executives who have sustainability-related responsibilities within the company.

It revealed companies across sectors and across the globe are committed to transitioning to net zero and are already delivering transition plans. However, 50% of companies deemed costs and scale of capital expenditure the most significant barrier to developing a net-zero plan. It is closely followed by three related roadblocks:

  • lack of feasible technological solutions;
  • regulatory challenges; and
  • difficulties in measuring and monitoring impact.


In Australia, 73% of companies confirmed that they have a net-zero plan in place, and 27% said the plan is already in progress. Among stakeholders, 23% of investors advocate most strongly for net-zero action, followed by management (20%), shareholders (20%), and regulators (20%).

The report further revealed that Australian companies reduce emissions by focusing on reducing emissions through supply chain (23%), increasing energy efficiency of buildings (20%), purchasing carbon offsets or credits (13%), choosing alternatives for fuels and raw materials (13%), and promoting consumer or customer behaviour change (13%).

When asked about the main challenges in developing a net-zero transition plan, 53% of the respondents chose costs and scale of capital expenditure needed, 50% cited regulatory challenges, and 43% difficulty measuring or monitoring the impacts.

Matt Holmes, group head of political and government affairs at Zurich, called on policymakers to support businesses' climate transition by making systematic, economy-wide interventions.

“The discussion so far suggests three priorities for action for governments: creating policy certainty, facilitating investment in mitigation and adaptation, and turbo charging innovation,” Holmes said.

Zurich Resilience Solutions recently teamed up with KPMG Switzerland to provide climate change advisory services.

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