NTT: CEOs Say People and the Planet Are Becoming More Important in Business

WSJ Intelligence undertook a new international CEO survey for global technology and business solution provider NTT. The survey focuses on the role of business in contributing to societal goals.

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“The pandemic has heightened expectations that large corporations will serve the interests of all stakeholders and not just shareholders.”

WSJ Intelligence conducted a survey of 351 CEOs of large corporations representing ten key industries in 15 countries to understand their views on their organization’s role in society, social impact strategies, the stakeholders involved, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has driven these strategies.

The research confirms that post-pandemic people and the planet rather than solely profit are becoming increasingly important for organizations of all sizes. While this trend was evident before March 2020, the pandemic brought it to the forefront.

The latest research considers, too, how organizations better support employee wellbeing and change management. It uncovers the most valuable tools and tips for social purpose implementation while also analyzing the most significant challenges.

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Key Findings:

  • 94% agree that “The pandemic has heightened expectations that large corporations will serve the interests of all stakeholders and not just shareholders.”
  • 79% of executives acknowledge the increased importance placed on employee health and wellbeing in the past two years.
  • 77% of respondents agree that employee engagement is equally as essential as profitability when driving performance outcomes.
  • 64% of business leaders surveyed say they have a well-established purpose set out in a formal mission statement.
  • 61% of respondents are moving toward social purpose by generating value through sustainable profits while minimizing harm.
  • 54% of respondents say they have established hybrid working—WFH versus office—schedules
  • 53% of respondents said cybersecurity is the most important technology tool for social purpose implementation, with 44% citing artificial intelligence (AI) as the second most important tool.

Post-pandemic, people and the planet rather than solely profit are becoming increasingly important for organizations of all sizes, and digital technologies will play a central role in creating a ‘new normal.’ A large majority of CEOs surveyed say that the pandemic has increased the importance of social purpose and given prominence to those who lead with purpose.

Business leaders acknowledge that staff need support during this period of significant change, and organizations that fail to act run the risk of losing their competitive advantage. Most respondents highlight the substantial positive impacts on financial and non-financial business outcomes.

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