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70% of Asia-Pacific businesses see sustainability as important, but less than half say they are committed towards net zero: New Vodafone study

  • Only 24% of APAC businesses agree that they have a well-developed plan to tackle climate change.
  • 74% of APAC businesses reporting higher profits have a formal ESG program in place.

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 21 November 2022 - Vodafone Business today released the APAC edition of its annual global study, revealing that APAC businesses see a strong case for sustainability. Additionally, the study also highlights that more needs to be done to account for climate change in business planning to meet net zero targets with technology and collaboration playing a key role.


The annual global study, commissioned by Vodafone Business and conducted by B2B International – Fit for the Future[1] – surveyed 3,101 businesses across 15 countries, including 748 businesses across the APAC region. The study found a gap between businesses' view of sustainability and actual action being taken:

  • 70% of APAC businesses view sustainability as a necessary or important strategic goal.
  • 1 in 2 businesses in APAC (52%) agree that businesses should focus on preventing climate change.
  • However, less than a quarter (24%) of APAC businesses agree that they have a well-developed plan in place to tackle climate change.
  • Additionally, less than half (41%) say they are committed to moving towards net zero emissions, and only a third (35%) say they are taking action to offset their carbon impact.

Business case for environmentally sustainable practices driven by strong customer and investor demand in APAC

APAC businesses implementing sustainability practices into their business planning are realising significant business benefits from doing so. The study found 74% of businesses reporting higher profits this year, have a formal ESG program in place. This is significantly higher compared to firms that reported lower profits, where less than half (47%) said they have such programs in place.

This is largely due to increased customer and investor interest. Customer demand (50%) emerged as the top factor driving APAC businesses to view ESG as a key competitive differentiator.

More than half (58%) also say that customers and clients are becoming more demanding of the companies they buy from to practise environmental sustainability.

Whilst majority of APAC businesses believe that there is a strong customer demand for sustainability, only about a third (34%) say customers are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products and services. This points to how customers expect companies to adopt sustainable practices, without translating into higher costs for them.

Investor demand is also a key driver, with 58% of large enterprises in APAC reporting that their investors are focusing on sustainable businesses.

Tech skills and innovation needed to overcome barriers to sustainability

The report also found that the top three top barriers to sustainability in APAC are:

  1. The lack of maturity of key technologies that will enable sustainability (31%).
  2. Lack of skills in green technologies (30%).
  3. Lack of understanding on how to improve sustainability in their organisations (29%).

More collaboration (78%) and breakthroughs in technology are needed to drive progress towards sustainability goals in the region.

In particular, the top three areas where technology innovation is needed are adoption of renewable energy (41%), improving data connectivity (41%), improving traceability (e.g., using data analytics and blockchain) to make better supply chain decisions (41%).

"While there is recognition across APAC on the importance of environmental sustainability, there is a clear opportunity for businesses to take more concrete actions, particularly driven by customers and investor demand. Technology plays a key role in helping businesses overcome the barriers and move towards sustainability goals, with over 70% of businesses in APAC agreeing that technology breakthroughs are needed to enable progress," said Bhupinder Singh, President, Asia Pacific & Middle East, at Vodafone Business, "Fit for the Future businesses recognise the importance of creating a sustainable future, and Vodafone Business is ready to collaborate on innovative solutions to support businesses on both their sustainability and digital transformation journeys."

Read the Fit for the Future APAC report here, and global report here.

Research methodology

We started our Fit For The Future project with a programme of secondary research. Vodafone Business' Insights team analysed many sources, drawing out and extrapolating themes and business needs. This thinking was then taken into qualitative and quantitative research to test it and dig deeper. Key business challenges were explored amongst businesses as a whole and through the lens of being "Fit For The Future".

Our qualitative research took place in UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and South Africa and consisted of 31 depth interviews with business decision makers, investors and journalists. 3,101 businesses of all sizes and sectors were surveyed via a 15 minute quantitative survey across 15 different markets (Australia, China, Germany, Spain, Ireland, India, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, UAE, UK and USA).


[1] Based on the report, businesses considered "Fit for the Future" have a more positive attitude towards changing the way they conduct business and are more adaptable to challenges.

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About Vodafone

Unique in its scale as the largest pan-European and African technology communications company, Vodafone transforms the way we live and work through its innovation, technology, connectivity, platforms, products and services.

Vodafone operates mobile and fixed networks in 21 countries, and partners with mobile networks in 47 more. As of 30 September 2022, we had over 300 million mobile customers, more than 28 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers. Vodafone is a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), connecting more than 150 million devices and platforms.

We have revolutionised fintech in Africa through M-Pesa, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2022. It is the region's largest fintech platform, providing access to financial services for more than 50 million people in a secure, affordable and convenient way.

Our purpose is to connect for a better future by using technology to improve lives, digitalise critical sectors and enable inclusive and sustainable digital societies.

We are committed to reducing our environmental impact to reach net zero emissions across our full value chain by 2040, while helping our customers reduce their own carbon emissions by 350 million tonnes by 2030. We are driving action to reduce device waste and achieve our target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of our network waste.

We believe in the power of connectivity and digital services to improve society and economies, partnering with governments to digitalise healthcare, education and agriculture and create cleaner, safer cities. Our products and services support the digitalisation of businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Our inclusion for all strategy seeks to ensure no-one is left behind through access to connectivity, digital skills and creating relevant products and services such as access to education, healthcare and finance. We are also committed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the customers and societies we serve.

For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com, follow us on Twitter at @VodafoneGroup or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/vodafone.

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