Home › Insights › KPMG IMPACT › Climate change and the people factor

C-suite executives and board directors have set ambitious net zero targets, but translating ambition to action will need investment in human capital.

Climate change is expected to affect every facet of the global economy and the transition to a low-carbon economy will likely result in substantial changes in the way companies do business. Those fluctuations will likely impact employees and disrupt labor markets, whose effects could ripple through the communities where they live. The wholescale transformation of business models in the timescales we are facing will likely require much more than just the right skills and expertise. Every employee has a role to play in the transition to net zero.

The latest survey report by Eversheds Sutherland and KPMG explores how employees are factored into companies’ decarbonization plan. Drawing on the perspectives of 1,095 global leaders and interviews with leading voices on climate change, the results indicate a potential gap between their net zero goals and the strategies and talent in place to achieve them.


Several important themes emerged from the survey and interviews

49 %

Have a clearly defined decarbonization plan in place.

3 in 10 will likely need to be reskilled
74 %

Believe they have the climate knowledge, resources, skills, and expertise to develop and deliver on their current decarbonization plans

39 % will continue working remotely
64 %

Feel accountable for climate-related impacts on environment and communities where their company operates.

Almost 2 in 10 will be made redundant

* Source: 2021 Eversheds Sutherland and KPMG Climate Change and the people factor

The findings demonstrate that human capital plays an important and complex role in the decarbonization story for companies.

Having sufficient capital, the right policy environment, and the right technology solutions are not enough to effectively fight against climate change. For all the various climate commitments corporations have made, they will find it challenging – if not impossible – to reach their goals without taking human capital action properly into account.

With the right incentives and resources, individuals have the power to help their companies achieve net zero and contribute to the global effort to fight climate impact.


Download PDF

Climate Change and The People Factor

Why net zero needs the people factor to succeed

Explore the findings