As the UN Climate Summit in Paris approaches, a new study by PricewaterhouseCooper shows that CEOs are motivated to pay attention to climate change.  But CEO motivation comes less from the prospect of binding climate agreements and more from the business risks and opportunities that climate change presents.  CEOs see growing public awareness and increasing government regulations as the main drivers for addressing climate change issues.  

On the personal side, a whopping 81% of CEOs say that protecting future generations is their primary motivating factor for acting on climate change.  But does this translate into business action?  CEOs will need to align their desire to do the right thing with business strategies that will help them succeed in a climate aware economy.  This will require rebalancing between short- and long-term objectives and results.

Here are some other interesting statistics from the PwC report on what the surveyed CEOs said about taking action on climate change:

63% are motivated by reputational advantage
53% are motivated by a desire to improve shareholder value
52% are motivated by the need to build trust in their organization
50% are motivated by consumer demand
46% see a binding agreement on climate change as the main driver for climate action
58% are partnering with suppliers to address climate risks and opportunities
25% are partnering with competitors
27% are partnering with investors
75% are addressing climate change by creating new products and services

A number of these statistics suggest that CEOs are just starting to identify how climate change will impact their company’s value and profits and what actions they can and should take.

The “opportunity seekers” will lead the effort of business to look at climate change in a strategic way. But, as the survey shows, many CEOs have started the journey toward creating a legacy of sustainable growth that is good for the planet and for people.

Read the full report here.