Green reporting initiatives like carbon reporting should not be affected by the Coronavirus pandemic or the subsequent market instability, according to Dr Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica.
Tipper also warned that those businesses which forget their climate commitments would ultimately lose out.
“There obviously is a degree of emergency panic going on within businesses,” he says. “Health scares and things like that will always come along from time to time, but companies that allow that to deflect them from their main business of being a viable business in the future will suffer.”
The threat of Coronavirus has played a large part in the panic seen in the stock market over the past few days, with the FTSE 100 falling 10.87 percent on Thursday, the worst day since the Black Monday crash of October 1987. Despite this, Tipper believes it’s important that businesses do not disregard long-term goals.
“An emergency like this doesn’t detract from the long-term. It makes the job of the management a bit harder because they have to overcome the short-term things, but it doesn’t change any of the fundamentals. It doesn’t mean there won’t still be environmental requirements.
“Just in the same way that you have to deal with Brexit, you have to deal with other things, okay, the time frame is a bit longer, but you will nevertheless have to deal with it,” Tipper says.
While investors are panicking about the immediate crisis, investors will still be guided by climate requirements.
“Climate change is a longer-term thing where companies that have traditionally used certain forms of energy and done business in a certain way depended on certain suppliers, will have to put some thought into restructuring those.
“Not probably in a super urgent type of way but if you put it off then you will be behind the competition. You will be competed by somebody who’s got a lower carbon or greener offering. That is becoming much more urgent these days.
“We’re seeing with some of the investors and some of the companies we work for that senior management salaries are being linked to achieving results on climate change. That is having a galvanising effect on the degree of importance that they’re putting on it,” he adds.
Tipper says he doesn’t believe climate action will fall off the agenda in the midst of the Coronavirus and financial crisis, mainly as government regulation still remains.
“There’s government requirements for it,” he says. “It’s just like will financial reporting fall off the agenda? But people are still interested in how the short-term events impact on their finances and they will probably also want to know how the short-term events impact on their emissions.”