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Sustain the sustainability

7 October, 2022

This week, KPMG published their annual CEO Outlook. In general it paints a really positive picture of the position of ESG in the C-Suite. The overall conclusion is that “Global CEOs see the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives on their businesses, especially when questioned about ESG’s impact on improving financial performance, driving growth and meeting stakeholder expectations. And this year’s survey shows a marked jump in demand from stakeholders — such as customers and investors — for increased transparency.”

But within the detail there is a somewhat different – and to us rather alarming – finding. Which is that the survey shows that alongside this stated conviction, many CEOs also and completely incongruously, seem to think that recession proofing their business may come at the expense of furthering ESG efforts. As economic uncertainty continues, 50 percent are pausing or reconsidering their existing or planned ESG efforts over the next 6 months.

This seems extraordinarily short sighted. If ever there was a time to future proof your business to withstand the impact of climate change, ensure your staff are able to eat while at work (we bet Sharon White didn’t tell the researchers it was time to cut back) and make sure you’re hiring the best people regardless of who they are it is now.

If CEOs want to deliver on their great ESG expectations now is the time to double down, not lift off. There is no time to waste. The urgency is now.

By Flora Giguel

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