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Social purpose escalates in 2023: Global CEOs say it’s important for sustainable profits and a better future

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Public Relations

Comms pros are aware that today’s consumers expect brands and businesses to take a stand on divisive issues, be community minded, and become active participants in helping to solve societal problems. A new research report from tech and business solution provider NTT seeks to understand where global CEOs stand on how business should—or shouldn’t—contribute to society’s goals.

The firm’s latest report, The Business of Building a Better World, based on a survey conducted by WSJ Intelligence, asked CEOs about their organization’s role in society, their social impact strategies, the stakeholders involved and how these strategies have been developed in the post-pandemic era.

A move toward social purpose vs. 2020:

Social purpose escalates in 2023: Global CEOs say it’s important for sustainable profits and a better future

The study follows two similar reports from NTT, Building Back with Purpose in 2020 and Innovation for a Sustainable Future in 2021. Comparing the results of the previous two reports enables assessment of progress and emerging trends.

The research revealed a deep understanding that innovation and investment in technology are vital to improving prosperity for all people and cultures. In a volatile world where change is the only constant, doubling down on tech solutions and adopting a collaborative—rather than divisive—mindset is vital.

Sustainability seen as critical to social purpose:

Social purpose escalates in 2023: Global CEOs say it’s important for sustainable profits and a better future

Key findings:

  • Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of CEOs confirmed that achieving carbon neutrality is part of their sustainability mission and a similar proportion responded that people and nature should be in harmony to preserve the planet.
  • 83 percent of leaders said their sustainability goals are entirely aligned and part of their organization’s social purpose.
  • All but 19 percent of CEOs interviewed feel prepared for emerging technologies.
  • The most common use of emerging technologies is to improve customer experience (64 percent), but almost as many (59 percent) see them as tools to help create smarter communities and economies.
  • Overall, 59 percent of respondents have formal diversity, equality and inclusion goals and programs and of these 72 percent of leaders have adopted these policies.

Virtually all are aligned with an understanding that people and nature must be compatible:

Social purpose escalates in 2023: Global CEOs say it’s important for sustainable profits and a better future

Ultimately, the researchers found that large corporations have continued their progress toward defining social-purpose statements and developing and implementing associated strategies. A large majority of CEOs say the events of the past three years have increased the importance of social purpose, giving prominence to companies that perceive and act with purpose as the best route to sustainable profits that support people and the planet for a better future.

Download the full report here.

In August and September 2022, with sponsorship from NTT, WSJ Intelligence conducted an online quantitative survey of 350 CEOs of large corporations in 16 countries around the world. The companies they represent are positioned in seven major industries. WSJ Intelligence provides insights that are relevant, timely and reliable. The Wall Street Journal news organization was not involved in the creation of this content.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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