Global Survey Shows Race To Decarbonization Is On

Johnson Controls Finds Delivering Growth And Competitive Advantage Are Main Drivers For Companies To Commit To Net Zero

net Zero Buildings

  • Survey shows the urgency with a 72 percent of respondents identifying sustainability as an increasing priority over the past two years
  • Overwhelming majority of 2,348 global senior sustainability leaders surveyed in 25 countries across the globe are investing in cleaner and more energy efficient buildings
  • Top three hurdles for customers today relate to the challenge what to measure and how to track their carbon footprints effectively

Johnson Controls has released the results of a global study to evaluate progress sustainability-focused companies have made in pursuing their goals, showing that sustainability is now the top global business investment priority and that the overwhelming majority of companies see clear competitive advantage from their sustainability focus and the goal of achieving net zero carbon.

Results from a series of interviews and an online survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by and developed in collaboration with Johnson Controls, found that to accelerate decarbonization efforts, companies must align with stakeholder demands, collaborate with partners on transparent sustainability roadmaps and effectively measure the progress of sustainability initiatives.

“The survey clearly shows that business leaders see sustainability as the number one business priority and that increasing investment in sustainability initiatives to improve business efficiency, reduce harmful environmental impacts and address urgent climate challenges, is top of mind,” said Katie McGinty, vice president and chief sustainability and external relations officer at Johnson Controls. “We also see a clear trend of customer demand for unique service and partnership models that allow them to focus on their core business while we drive customized, scalable steps for planning, execution, financing and reporting for their sustainability journeys.”

In October 2021, 2,348 senior sustainability strategy leaders across 25 countries and 19 industries were surveyed about their top business priorities and sustainability strategies over the next 12 months. Key takeaways from the study include:

Sustainability Maturity Delivers Competitive Advantage

More organizations are realizing that the future of business is inextricably bound to sustainability, with its importance continuing to increase. 72 percent of respondents indicated that implementing or maturing their sustainability programs is not only a top priority, but has also increased in importance over the past two years. Respondents found that embracing sustainability opportunities gave their organizations a competitive edge. More than 8 in 10 companies that recognize sustainability as an important business priority report benefits in the form of improved brand reputation (89%), decreased costs (89%), improved customer acquisition and/or loyalty (86%), and revenue growth (83%). In fact, 86 percent have a long-term goal for reducing carbon emissions by 2025 or earlier. By investing in decarbonization efforts, companies hope to attract customers who share similar environmental values while also addressing the needs of investors.



Incremental Progress Delivers Exponential Results

Companies at every maturity level report they have realized or expect to realize a variety of benefits, with 9 in 10 or more of sustainably engaged companies seeing benefits in the form of improved efficiencies (96%), improved compliance (95%), improved employee recruitment and/or retention (90%), and reduced waste (90%). Companies are investing in people, process, and technology improvements because they understand that it takes a multi-faceted approach to achieve sustainability progress and success.

Achieving Decarbonization Requires A Strategic Plan And Strong Leadership

Although organizations recognize the benefits of implementing sustainability practices, many companies don’t know where to start in preparing for critical business transformations. The survey findings indicated more than half of respondents hope to reduce energy consumption in their buildings by 2024 or earlier, but lack alignment around what metrics need to be tracked and how. Only 26% of respondents had ESG reporting software to help measure their progress and nearly 40% of respondents believe their organizations have a shortage of internal expertise, preventing them from tracking their carbon footprints effectively. While the survey shows that the business advantages of environmental improvements may look different across companies, there is consistent importance placed on strong leadership and strong partners to guide smart decisions.

“To lead in the race to decarbonization, companies must align priorities to the demands of many stakeholders, work with partners to develop transparent sustainability roadmaps, and identify metrics and adopt tools to measure progress,” said Mark Reinbold, vice president of global sustainability services & solutions at Johnson Controls. “More customers are looking for ways to make this process easy, and are transferring their sustainability commitments and the risk to reach these targets to Johnson Controls. It helps them optimizing their building performance with technology that is capable of delivering significant energy savings and a corresponding drop in CO2 emissions, while also ensuring that outcomes will help the planet.”

“2021 has been a critical year for climate change,” said Johnson Controls Chief Sustainability Officer McGinty. “It’s crucial for governments and the private sector to come together to drive meaningful emissions reductions by the end of this decade to avoid the disastrous effects of climate change and seize the upside economic opportunities for all. The recent COP26 Climate Summit brought together world leaders, academics, business executives and others. During the Summit Johnson Controls clearly demonstrated that with innovative technology already existing today, we can put ourselves and others solidly on the pathway to net zero before 2050.”

To see the full Race to Decarbonization Survey results, please visit: https://www.johnsoncontrols.com/forresterstudy