Yesterday, in Deferred Compensation News, we looked at results from the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook, a study conducted in January and February of 1,300 CEOs, followed this summer by re-surveying 315 of the participants.
If you missed yesterday’s news, you’ll want to read Part I of “Top CEO Concerns Post-COVID-19: Talent and Corporate Responsibility,” where we published how survey respondents ranked issues of talent retention, digital transformation and the personal impact COVID-19 has had on their lives and outlooks.
Today’s segment of the report turns its attention to a topic we’ve discussed frequently here on Deferred Compensation News, that of corporate position on environment, social and governance issues, ESG and its relationship to corporate purpose.
Excerpt from KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook, August 25, 2020
Increased focus on purpose and ESG
Earlier this year, CEOs said their organizations have a larger role to play in society. Two-thirds (65 percent) of CEOs said that the public is looking to businesses to fill the void on societal challenges and three-quarters (76 percent) agreed that as leaders they are personally responsible for change on societal issues.
The pandemic has accelerated global executives’ focus on their roles in society and added further scrutiny on business practices. CEOs feel that the recent developments have made them question if their company purpose meets the standard expected from their stakeholders, with 79 percent saying that they have had to re-evaluate their organization’s purpose as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. That same majority (79 percent) saying they feel a stronger emotional connection to their organization’s purpose since the crisis began.
This development has put ESG near the top of the agenda for CEOs and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of leaders have shifted the focus towards the social component of ESG during this period of global uncertainty. Despite the increased emphasis towards societal issues, many sectors are at risk from climate change. A large group of CEOs (65 percent) recognize that managing this risk will be key to determining their success, specifically whether they can keep their jobs over the next five years.
Bill Thomas concluded: “The COVID-19 crisis is redefining what good business leadership looks like. It is making demands of CEOs that few people could have imagined just months ago. Environmental considerations remain important, but societal impact is now much higher on the agenda. CEOs are more connected to their organization’s purpose, their reason for being, and are using it to guide their business decisions through continuing unpredictable times.”
The study included qualitative interviews with CEOs of:
- Hellenic Petroleum
- Kyocera Corporation
- NatWest Group (formerly RBS)
- Thomson Reuters, Salsano Group
- Verizon Communications
- Zurich Insurance.
#ESG #CEO #COVID19 #CorporateResponsiblity
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