YPO: Only One in 25 Small and Medium-sized Business Leaders Say They Measure Company Carbon Emissions

  • Lack of measurement of environmental and energy performance among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) hampering ability to contribute to the energy transition and tackle climate change
  • 96% of SMB leaders said they do not measure scope 1-3 carbon emissions and 95% do not have data on the level of renewable energy consumption
  • Less than a third of SMBs have dedicated environmental or sustainability skills on their board of directors or in a company leadership position
  • YPO will upskill its members on how to measure and report on environmental impact

KIGALI, Rwanda, Jan. 31, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Most small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders say their companies do not measure carbon emissions. This could severely hamper their ability to contribute to tackling climate change, according to new research by YPO, sponsored by EY.

The report from YPO, a global leadership community of chief executives, shows that only 4% of its members surveyed were able to provide data on their companies’ direct and indirect emissions (scope 1-3). Only 5% of chief executives surveyed measure the level of their businesses’ renewable energy use, so they were not able to report progress on their energy transition.

As environmental regulatory requirements intensify, the research in YPO’s inaugural Global Impact Report also highlights a potential lack of resources and understanding of how to report on these issues among SMBs. Less than a third (28%) of business leaders indicated that they have a social and environmental committee on their board of directors, while only 27% reported having a full-time sustainability leadership position.

YPO Global Chairman, Raymond Watt, said:

“Our members are at the core of many economies around the world and want to play their part in tackling the environmental emergency, but currently the majority simply don’t have the data and support to do so.”

“This inaugural report provides an essential baseline for YPO member businesses to begin benchmarking their environmental impact and to make a positive difference. We are committed to supporting them to effectively measure their energy use and carbon emissions, including exploring technological data and reporting solutions.”

“As well as taking concerted company action to help to stem climate change, it will only be a matter of time until regulatory and supply chain requirements make environmental reporting a commercial as well as a climate imperative.”

“Although it currently focuses on larger organizations, the regulatory pressure to disclose environmental data is intensifying. This year, thousands of multinationals with businesses in Europe must start reporting their climate impact under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to adopt climate disclosure rules.”

Orlan Boston, YPO member and Senior Advisory and Global Client Service Partner at EY, said:

“As well as more regulatory requirements, customer pressure on companies to provide environmental, social and governance performance transparency and make progress against it is intensifying.”

“Small and medium-business leaders should evaluate the opportunities and risks for their own individual businesses and stakeholders, which will enable them to execute a targeted strategy of improvement.”

About YPO

YPO is the global leadership community of more than 35,000 chief executives in 150 countries who are connected by the shared belief that the world needs better leaders and that business can be a driving force for good. Each of our members has achieved significant leadership success at a young age. They lead businesses and organizations that collectively employ more than 22 million people around the globe and generate over USD9 trillion in combined revenue. YPO members come together to learn and exchange ideas to make a difference in the lives, businesses and communities they impact. Visit ypo.org for more.

Data Methodology

The YPO 2023 Global Impact Survey was conducted by YPO via an online questionnaire with support from EY, strategic learning advisor and survey sponsor; Proof, data and technology partner; and Labrador, advisory, writing and design partner. The survey aimed to capture diverse perspectives of business leaders regarding their social, governance and environmental impact. The data collection approach leveraged Proof’s data intelligence platform, allowing members to enter, save and update their data during the data collection period. The survey covered the reporting period from 1 January to 30 June 2023 with an open data collection period from July to December 2023, with responses from more than 700 YPO members from 82 countries.


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