Three-quarters of senior business leaders believe ESG – Environmental, social and governance – issues are more important than ever this year, according to research from comms agency Grayling.
The survey of 500 business leaders included in Grayling’s whitepaper New Collectivism: Building Better Business found that 45% of senior leaders in big businesses agreed that ESG would be more important than in any previous year. 82% also believe the decisions they make in 2021 will be more important than in previous years.
Reflecting the move from the ‘profit first’ approach of the 70s and 80s to modern ethics-led aims, 63% of the senior leaders surveyed agree that businesses have a responsibility to society at large, with 85% also saying collective responsibility is important for future business success.
Sustainability is also an important factor for modern business, as 43% of all large business leaders consider it a priority. Challenges cited by respondents to the Grayling survey included COVID-19 limiting sustainability conversations (26%), politicisation (14%) and customer, consumer and Government pressure (14%).
Grayling head of corporate, UK & Europe Tom Nutt said that the report findings ‘confirm what we have been observing for some time now – that businesses are reassessing the wider role of their organisations in society. This is being driven by three things – concerns about climate change and the environment; social unrest around the world and the simple fact that sustainable business is good business.
‘It’s an understatement to say that the last year has been a momentous one for business. But the effect has been to speed up and add greater urgency to existing trends, rather than new ones emerging. I expect this sense of urgency to be on display at COP26 this year which is undoubtedly the most important UN Climate Change conference ever.’
Grayling’s whitepaper New Collectivism: Building Better Business can be downloaded here.
For more PR trends to be ready for this year, check out our round-up of insight from 13 PR thought leaders.
Considering your own ESG strategy? Read our report The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations.