Carbon neutrality is a concept variously understood in the world of French business leaders. If all have more or less understood the principle, putting it into practice in their respective activities turns out to be more delicate.
When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, many business leaders realized that a new obligation was going to be imposed on them. The urgent need for everyone to decarbonize their activity is no longer in doubt. However, multinationals, ETI and TPE do not have the same weapons or the same means to face this commitment.
This is essentially what a study carried out by Ifop for Mazars shows. In summary, it emerges that:
- 53% of managers consider that they will have to deeply adapt their business model to achieve carbon neutrality
- 62% of managers of large companies and mid-sized companies consider the objective of carbon neutrality to be a priority, compared to 60% in SMEs and 46% in very small businesses.
- Only 16% of business leaders have carried out a carbon footprint
These results show that there will still be a long way to go before reaching the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 as advocated in the Accord. The most revealing indicator is that of carrying out a carbon footprint. It is the starting point. Without having previously determined the origins of the carbon emissions of its activity, it seems difficult to take corrective measures. However, the study shows a meager 16% of the leaders who would have carried out this assessment.
In addition, the study also highlights multiple disparities. Decarbonizing its activity changes definition and dimension depending on the sector of activity in which the company operates, its size and maturity. It is easier for a large company to take action because the financial and human resources are greater and easier to mobilize. In this regard, Edwige Rey, CSR and Sustainable Development partner of Mazars, insists on the fact that "The subjects of carbon neutrality and financing cannot be decorrelated, because such an approach generates significant costs in order to adapt and transform in depth the business model, the industrial tool and the entire value chain ”. She goes on to highlight an interesting point: "less than half of the respondents to the study consider that they have internally the human skills necessary to achieve the objective of neutrality".
In addition to having a still a little vague conception of carbon neutrality, the leaders seem to be dragging their feet a little, seeing in this commitment a new source of administrative constraints and complexity.
Information and support work will be essential if we want to obtain the full support of all business leaders. They are, of course, all of good will, but their concerns are concrete and the public authorities will have to respond pragmatically to avoid an additional gas plant. For this, the business manager must be surrounded by all the stakeholders making up his ecosystem such as public actors, banks, suppliers, customers or even employees.
An opportunity for some or a threat for others, carbon neutrality will only be achieved with all French economic players. And it looks like there is still work to be done for them to see it as their top priority.