Surge in Net Zero spending planned by world’s largest companies


  • New research shows that global corporations intend to invest 22% more year-on-year in getting their businesses to Net Zero, on average
  • UK companies plan the largest year-on-year increase in spending to cut carbon emissions, followed by Australian and Singaporean businesses
  • Study of largest 1320 companies by revenue across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC 

London, Sydney – The world’s largest companies plan to boost year-on-year spending to cut their carbon emissions by an average of 22%, according to new research which is published following several months of extreme weather events in many countries around the globe. 

Despite the challenging global economic conditions, corporations in every region said they were intending to increase their Net Zero investments. UK firms plan the largest investment increase globally at 36%, followed by a 32% hike by Australian businesses. That’s according to new research conducted by global business financial research firm East & Partners and communications consultancy Impact & Influence.

Companies in the world’s most carbon emitting countries also planned to spend more to work towards Net Zero, with US-based firms allocating a 28% investment increase, followed by increases of 18% and 12% respectively from Chinese and Indian businesses. 

Kenyan companies planned the lowest average increase in Net Zero spending among the markets included in the research, at 7.7%, suggesting that Africa may be being left behind in terms of access to sustainable finance. Firms based in the United Arab Emirates, which is co-hosting COP28 this November and December, reported that they were going to spend an average of 21% more year-on-year on cutting carbon emissions.  

Companies in carbon intensive industries plan to increase their Net Zero spending the most: manufacturing (26.9%), logistics & transport (24.3%), resources & mining (22%).

Just under a half (44.5%) of businesses plan to access this Net Zero finance from their current primary transaction bank, with 17.7% reporting that they plan to use a different provider than their main lender, and a similar number (18%) saying that they intend to use a specialist sustainability lender.

Paul Dowling, Co-Founder and Principal Analyst of East & Partners, said: “It’s encouraging that the world’s largest companies are planning to dial up their capital investment to reduce their carbon emissions, which will be critical to combating global climate change. 

“Most leading transaction banks are targeting Net Zero financing as a growth revenue stream, and they account for just under half of this large corporate lending market, but at the same time alternative sustainable finance providers are rapidly capturing market share.” 

Rishi Bhattacharya, CEO and Founder of Impact & Influence, commented: “Companies are putting their money where their mouth is in terms of boosting investment to get to Net Zero. This surge in spending will be driven by a host of different factors including compelling climate change science, industry, business and supply chain risks, investor appetite,  public and political pressure – and, of course, commercial opportunity. 

“Whatever their motivations, action and innovation by these businesses will be pivotal to protecting the planet.”

Specialist sustainability lenders have made stronger inroads into the UK, US and Japanese Net Zero finance markets, with 27.4%, 26.3% and 26.1% of companies based respectively in those countries expecting to use their services. Accessing sustainable finance via capital markets is most likely in the US (22.1%), followed by Australia (20.8%). 

Research fieldwork was executed over the two-week period ending 14 August 2023 with the individual responsible for the business banking relationship. Interviews were conducted on a direct basis over Teams and/or Zoom with the top revenue-ranked corporates in each of the following:

Americas: Brazil, Canada, USA

Asia Pacific: Australia, China, India, Japan, Singapore

Europe: France, Germany, UK

Middle East and Africa: Kenya, Saudi Arabia, UAE 

Total corporates interviewed: 1320