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From fossil to clean: taking the pulse of business

Ambition, acceleration and frustration: business attitudes to the clean energy transition revealed

Published: 19 September, 2023

Decisive action from business can drive a well-managed and just transition from fossil fuels to clean solutions. But business can’t do it alone. Companies operate within wider commercial, policy and infrastructure contexts that are outside their control. That means it is vital to understand the progress business is making, the opportunities to accelerate change, and the barriers business faces. 

As part of the Corporate Climate Stocktake, We Mean Business Coalition worked with Bain & Company, to poll more than 300 business leaders and industry experts across six industry sectors: power, road transport, steel, hydrogen, shipping, and concrete and cement. We asked for their views on the phase-out of fossil fuels and the ramp-up of clean energy.  

We found encouraging signs of progress. Optimism among many respondents. Growing demand for clean energy and zero-carbon inputs. And frustration at the barriers that are preventing a rapid shift from fossil fuels to clean energy. Scroll down to see what the polling found. 

The Coalition’s new Fossil to Clean campaign, launched at New York Climate Week 2023, will harness existing business momentum to catalyze change, and build government confidence to set the right policies and regulatory frameworks to overcome barriers and facilitate a shift from fossil fuels to clean solutions.  

We will release the full findings of the Corporate Stocktake, including sector-specific polling, in mid-October. To find out more about the polling or to be involved in the project contact us


  • Almost half (48%) of power companies expect to be fossil fuel-free by 2040
  • 60% of road transport respondents don’t expect to be using fossil fuels by 2040
  • Half of steel company respondents expect their sector to have decarbonized by 2040


Barriers to the clean energy transition 

Barriers to transition

  • Half of respondents across all six sectors identified enabling infrastructure as a top-three barrier to the clean energy transition  
  • The cement and steel sectors are concerned about the availability of zero-carbon inputs, according to more than half of their respondents  
  • Regulatory approval is a stand-out issue for the power sector, according to 55% of its respondents    



  • Nearly three-fifths (57%) of power companies are seeking out countries with stringent energy laws and regulations.
  • 60% of cement executives consider stringent energy rules a positive when it comes to investing.



  • Almost half (41%) of respondents see investor pressure as a top driver for accelerating action  
  • More than one-third (37%) of those polled cited consumer pressure as the first or second most important driver of their clean energy transition effort  


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