'We’re not on track': Are DDaT leaders underestimating barriers to Net Zero?

Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) leaders are optimistic about meeting Net Zero targets - with 74% 'confident' this will happen and just 3% very 'unconfident', according to new research by Kin + Carta and Government Transformation Magazine.

However, further findings indicate this confidence may be unfounded. The research, which involves quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews with over 100 DDaT leaders, provides evidence of significant discrepancies between the expectations and reality of meeting sustainability targets.   

While the majority (76%) believe that the support, skills and technology are in place to deal with sustainability targets, a different story emerges when considering respondents’ perceived key barriers to achieving Net Zero: a lack of technology and infrastructure (40%), poor communication to employees on the importance of Net Zero (41%) and a lack internal knowledge (29%). 

A Sustainability Professional from a large government department, who was interviewed as part of the research, recognised these barriers: “We’re not on track for Net Zero from what I’ve seen - whether for 2040 or 2050. But the later you leave it, the more it will cost.”    

A 'wickedly complicated' problem 

Natalie Jones at the Government Digital Service (GDS) suggested that DDaT leaders' should focus more on strategy rather than the end goal of Net Zero. This may lead to more accurate predictions of sustainability progress.  

She suggested that “The biggest barrier is just understanding how to get started.” calling it a “wickedly complicated problem.” She added: “There’s no real practical guide showing how to make even a 1% gain.” 

The report finds that current sustainability strategies are flawed and will likely lead to missed targets; a sign of DDaT leaders’ "misplaced confidence" the report states. 

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