ESG Today writes that according to the survey released by global professional services company EY, business decarbonization sits at the top of the priority list for many executives. Experts at EY surveyed 1.200 CEOs from large companies across 21 states and five industries, in addition to 300 institutional investors in these 21 countries.

Results revealed that 54% of the CEOs and their executive boards give a higher priority to sustainability matters, while 23% moves sustainability down on the list of priorities, mostly due to economic or financial challenges.

CEOs in America were the most open to increasing the priority on sustainability, at 62%, while also being the fewest that demoted sustainability, in 16% of the cases, compared to Europe's 51% increase and 27% decrease in sustainability importance and a 49% increase and 25% decrease in Asia-Pacific.

The results to EY's survey can be accessed here.

As far as which are the priorities in the coming 12 months, 47% of the surveyed CEOs stated that they will focus on investing in AI and technology to boost economic performance, while only 16% will spend money on decarbonization efforts. For the coming three years, however, decarbonization takes the top priority spot in 43% of the cases.

Andrea Guerzoni, EY Global Vice Chair – Strategy and Transactions, says that "although it’s reassuring to see that CEOs remain positive about their business outlook with many remaining committed to accelerating or delivering on their decarbonization targets, the fact that nearly one in four CEOs are moving sustainability down their business agenda is disappointing for those who look to companies to set the tone of this topic."

At the same time, for investors, only 28% of them consider sustainability to be more of a priority than it was 12 months ago, while 35% say that their interest for sustainable practices dropped. However, both CEOs (75%) and investors (70%) believe that technology and AI will have big implications overcoming many of the sustainability-related challenges that companies face.