Canadian CEOs more keen on going green compared to their global counterparts

Greater regulation means majority of Canadian CEOs are preparing for the impacts of climate change

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Canadian CEOs are more likely to agree that going green makes smart business sense than their global counterparts, according to the 13th annual Global CEO Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). Adopting viable climate change strategies will continue to play an important role in helping businesses to score high marks from investors and consumers, to gain leading market positions and to manage changes in climate change regulations.

Survey findings highlight that Canadian CEOs were more committed than other CEOs globally in investing in climate change initiatives despite last year's recession.

    
    -  Seventy-nine percent of Canadian CEOs indicated their investment into
       climate change was either unaffected or increased during the
       recession. Only 21% delayed or reduced their investment as a result of
       the recession.

    -  Nearly 70% of CEOs will focus on preparing for the impacts of climate
       change initiatives in 2010, which is notably higher than results from
       CEOs globally (61%).

    -  Canadian CEOs are more likely to believe that consumers will place a
       higher emphasis on a company's environmental and corporate
       responsibility practices before making a purchase (77%), compared to
       global results (64%) or the US (55%). In response, an overwhelming 93%
       of Canadian CEOs plan to change their environmental and corporate
       responsibility strategies.

    -  Nearly three-quarters of Canadian CEOs (73%) support social and
       environmental sustainability regulations, indicating they would like
       some modification, including more regulation, better enforcement of
       current regulation or a different kind of regulation entirely. Only 5%
       of CEOs in Canada responded they want less regulation.
    

"Heightened public concern and tougher environmental regulations have made climate change an increasing priority for today's business leaders," says Dr. Christine Schuh, associate partner and national leader of Climate Change Services group at PwC. "Higher costs for energy and regulatory compliance, loss of investor confidence and consumer loyalty pose significant threats to those without climate change business strategies in place."

PwC's recent The Forecast report on federal and provincial climate change reporting regulations indicates that different jurisdictions are taking distinctive approaches to regulatory requirements. New regulations are coming into play that once never existed. The Federal Government recently updated the Facility GHG Reporting Regulations to lower the reporting threshold for organizations from 100,000 tonnes CO(2)e to 50,000 tonnes CO(2)e, and split two reporting categories used in previous years' reporting (i.e. venting and flaring, and wastewater) into separate categories.

Provincially, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec have joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working to tackle climate change at a regional level. The WCI in both Canada and the United States are recommending a broad cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.

Beyond government regulatory demands, many businesses are also feeling pressure from a growing number of eco-conscious consumers. The recent Global CEO Survey found that 77% of CEOs believe that consumers will take into consideration a company's environmental and corporate responsibility practices before making a purchase. In response, many Canadian businesses are changing their environmental and sustainability practices to help quench their consumers' thirst for sustainable products and information.

PwC's spring 2010 issue of Report Ability, covering trends in sustainability reporting, found that almost one half of the Top 100 Canadian companies - as they appeared on the 2009 Financial Post Top 500 list - currently produce a corporate social responsibility report as a means of communicating sustainable business practices to stakeholders.

"While businesses commonly may allude to altruistic reasons for adopting sustainable business practices, the primary reason for doing so is the positive impact it can have on the bottom line," says Mel Wilson, associate partner for the Sustainable Business Solutions practice at PwC. "Consumers today consider other factors than price when making purchasing decisions, and are increasingly favouring competitively-priced products made in a socially, ethically and environmentally-friendly way over the cheapest deals."

For more information, including the 13th Annual Global CEO Survey interviews regarding climate change, and the latest issue of Report Ability, please visit: www.pwc.com/ca/sustainability.

To read The Forecast, PwC's newsletter on climate change, please visit www.pwc.com/ca/forecast.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,300 partners and staff in offices across the country.

"PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate legal entity.

SOURCE PwC

For further information: For further information: Jessica Draker, (416) 869 8723, jessica.l.draker@ca.pwc.com; Kiran Chauhan, (416) 947-8983, kiran.chauhan@ca.pwc.com

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