The responses prompted the organisation’s leader in Scotland to call for the issues to be prioritised – and more support from government and climate experts to be provided.
The IoD event has been taking place again virtually, and has a global theme, with speakers including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; David Miliband, president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee; and Douglas Lamont, chief executive of Innocent Drinks.
Delegates were asked about the climate change emergency – and whether, given its code red status, it should be treated by governments as a greater priority than Covid-19. Nearly two thirds of the roughly 60 executives questioned said “yes”, while more than a quarter took the opposite view, and the rest replied that they did not know.
Louise Macdonald, national director of IoD Scotland, said: “While the effects of the pandemic are still being felt across the business community, as we
approach COP26, business-leaders are recognising that climate change is climbing the agenda.
"Over the last two days we have heard from sector experts about the ways in which organisations can play their part in tackling the climate emergency; now it is time to turn words into actions and make sure it does not fall down the priority list.”
The same number of delegates were also asked if they believed that the UK will achieve its net-zero target by 2050. Only a quarter believed it would, while 60 per cent said it wouldn’t, with the remainder unsure.
Ms Macdonald also commented: “Results from our conference delegates show that many don’t feel confident that the UK will reach its 2050 target. From conversations with members, we know this is largely due to a fear of the complex nature of decarbonising their organisation.
"It will be vital that more support and guidance from government and climate experts is forthcoming if we are to meet the 2050 target.”