Survey: Australian companies need to accelerate decarbonisation to boost economic competitiveness

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New research from Schneider Electric has highlighted the urgent need for Australian businesses to boost their decarbonisation effort to bolster their economic competitiveness. 

Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Index, 2023 survey revealed that local businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing, retail, and financial services sectors, recognise net zero emission goals as a key driver for economic competitiveness and climate resilience but indicates that many companies are not acting quickly enough to address this urgent matter. 

The report, which surveyed over 500 decision-makers across corporate Australia, revealed that 77 per cent see sustainable transformation as a significant driving force in establishing a competitive edge for companies. 

The figure was the highest in the manufacturing industry, with 82 per cent agreeing that sustainability creates a competitive advantage. Retail and financial services industries follow close behind at 80 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively. 

Meanwhile, over two-thirds of businesses agreed that Australia must meet net zero emissions targets to remain economically competitive. 

The retail and manufacturing industries rated highly on decarbonisation, with 71 per cent of business leaders recognising the economic advantage of meeting net zero emissions. 

However, despite growing awareness and commitment to sustainability, the survey reveals that many businesses are falling short in implementing decarbonisation strategies. 

According to the study, only 52 per cent of respondents across industries reported discussing or having a decarbonisation strategy established. This means that a significant portion of Australian companies have yet to commit to low-carbon transition fully. 

“To achieve the necessary emission reductions, it is essential that businesses set ambitious targets and map out the path to achieving them,” said Gareth O’Reilly, Pacific Zone President of Schneider Electric. “Many of the steps companies can take to improve energy efficiency and introduce their own renewable energy supply will not only improve their bottom line but also protect them from volatility in energy supplies and pricing.” 

To read more about sustainability as an economic imperative and the role of technology in accelerating transformation, visit