Seventy per cent of UK’s business leaders have paused climate and sustainability initiatives due to COVID-19, survey finds

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 Eighty per cent of sustainability business leaders with children say their corporate sustainability policies have been influenced by thinking about what the planet will look like for their own children, according to new research released today by the UK’s number one baby food brand, Ella’s Kitchen.

The survey of 500 of the UK’s C-Suite leaders with responsibility for sustainability found that two thirds (64%) of those who were parents have actively taken steps to change their company’s sustainability policy following a conversation they have had with their child. 

While the findings show that future generations are top of mind when it comes to motivations on climate action, the research from Ella’s Kitchen also reveals the alarming impact that COVID-19 is having on sustainability action in corporations across the UK. 

Seventy per cent of business leaders surveyed revealed they have paused climate and sustainability initiatives this year due to COVID-19 – with two-thirds (63%) confirming the global pandemic would result in them missing their sustainability targets.  

At the same time, business leaders in the UK want the government to go further in addressing climate change. Two-thirds (64%) do not think that the government’s green recovery package goes far enough, with 63% arguing the government must commit more funds to green economy initiatives. 

Based on the findings, Ella’s Kitchen is calling on UK business leaders to put climate action at the heart of their COVID-19 business recovery strategiesWhile companies have been understandably distracted by the immediate impact of the global pandemic, the climate clock has not stopped ticking and we have lost vital time in addressing the climate crisis. The race is on – if we do not act now then we risk leaving it too late to protect the health of our planet for our little ones. 

To show its own commitments, Ella’s Kitchen is today launching its BIG Pledge to Little People, which seeks to drive real action towards protecting the world for future generations and promises:

  1. To be Net Zero by 2030
  2. To reduce emissions by setting externally approved Science Based Targets for direct and indirect emissions across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 as defined by the GHG Protocol
  3. To work with UK and International conservation partners to restore, rewild and protect the eco-systems on which we all rely

Mark Cuddigan, CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, commented: “My own daughters regularly ask me why the world is facing a climate crisis, and what I’m doing about it. Not having an answer just isn’t good enough. As a father, I know that my children have impacted my own business decisions and I’m not surprised that other business leaders feel the same way – we are all human and want the best for our children and our children’s children.

“It is sad to see that so many businesses will miss their climate targets due to the impact of the global health pandemic. Of course, businesses are facing serious challenges at this time, but we can’t afford to forget our determination to address climate change – our children certainly won’t and are depending on us to take action.      

“That’s why we are calling for climate change to be at the heart of every UK businesses COVID-19 recovery strategy. At Ella’s Kitchen, we know that becoming a Net Zero business will be challenging, but it will allow us to make sure that we operate in a way which protects the planet for our children’s future. We are running out of time on climate change – we need to go further, and we need to go faster – if we don’t prioritise a green recovery, it will be too late to make a difference.”