Corporate executives are expanding their horizons, shifting from a solitary focus on shareholders to consider their impact on society more broadly, suggests a new survey from Deloitte Global.
The firm reported that a survey of more than 2,000 executives in 19 countries, which was carried out between July and September 2019, found that businesses are increasingly considering factors such as environmental sustainability and social impact, instead of focusing purely on profit.
In particular, climate change and sustainability are gaining traction with executives. The report noted that almost 90% of respondents said that climate change will negatively affect their company, and 59% said they have adopted internal sustainability initiatives.
“Two years ago, only 10% of executives believed their companies could influence environmental sustainability to a significant degree,” the report said.
“With an increasing number of catastrophic, climate-related events affecting populations and geographies, we’re seeing business leaders increasing their focus and attention on climate and environmental sustainability,” Sharon Thorne, chair of Deloitte Global, said in a statement.
“Executives are beginning to acknowledge the business imperative of climate change. And, they are beginning to act as they feel mounting pressure from stakeholders and threats to their own business,” she added.
The survey also found that almost 60% of executives said they are now looking to enhance their company’s positive impact on society, driven by pressure from external stakeholders (40%) and employees (20%).
“We’re in a new era where shifting societal attitudes have made it an imperative for businesses to place societal responsibility at the heart of their strategies. Business readiness now demands leaders understand this expanded responsibility and deliver solutions not just for business growth, but also for societal progression,” said Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global.