The majority of larger companies in Scotland believe climate change poses a risk to their business, according to a poll published today.

It is claimed the survey, commissioned by WWF Scotland, shows current and future impacts of climate change are on the agenda in boardrooms across the country, with 85 per cent of businesses in Scotland with 250-plus employees saying they believe climate change poses a business risk.

The survey further found that 85% of large businesses and SMEs in Scotland say they want the Scottish Government to take the lead in tackling climate change.


The findings come a week after the Bank of England declared banks and insurance companies will be required to appoint a senior manager to take responsibility for protection from climate change risk.

Responding to the findings, Dr Sam Gardner, acting director at WWF Scotland, said: “These findings make it clear climate change is no longer a concern of a few ‘green’ businesses.

"The risks and opportunities are on the agenda in boardrooms across all company sizes, and rightly so.

“Climate change poses many chronic and severe risks to our planet’s natural and financial systems."

He said: "But the actions we need to tackle climate change, like building warmer homes, developing new modes of transport and modernising how we grow our food, will also present huge innovation and economic opportunities for forward-thinking businesses in Scotland.

“The best way for Scotland to minimise the threat posed by climate change and maximise the opportunities arising from our response is for Scotland to continue to take a world-leading role, as businesses across Scotland clearly seem to understand.”


Matt Lancashire, Scottish Council for Development and Industry director of policy, said: “Scotland’s businesses are facing big issues, from Brexit to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, of which climate change is undoubtedly one of the most significant.

“However, the transition to a low-carbon economy is also a great opportunity for the Scottish economy to innovate and grow.

"Our renewable energy sector has generated sustainable economic growth and created thousands of high-quality jobs, directly and in an extensive supply chain, while also reducing emissions and making the air we all breath cleaner."

He said: "Redesigning services and production across a range of industries using low-carbon technologies and data can help to increase efficiency and deliver productivity gains, open up new market opportunities and make Scotland a more attractive place in which to live and work."

Charandeep Singh, head of external relations at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "This is interesting research and adds to the ongoing conversation about how business communities can play their role in achieving a low-emission economy and reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint.

"Many businesses in the private sector are already playing their part with some excellent examples such as Scottish Power’s recent announcement to generate 100% of its electricity from wind power."

He said: "Scotland’s expertise places us in pole position to reap the economic and social benefits of a modern, greener economy and we encourage more businesses to explore the new market opportunities of a low-carbon economy.’’

The survey of 300 Scottish businesses was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of WWF Scotland in October 2018. The sample included 150 businesses with over 250 employees and 150 SME businesses.