Over 8 out of 10 business leaders concerned with social issues

10 October 2023 Consultancy.eu 3 min. read
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Leading companies increasingly value environmental and social issues and the positive impacts they can have on businesses and their stakeholders. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives are now often seen as an opportunity rather than a liability.

In a survey conducted by global strategy consulting firm Bain & Company, more than 85% of business leaders said that social issues are an urgent concern for their companies. The survey, which polled 300 business leaders, also showed that 39% believe balancing the needs of all stakeholders is the primary role of their business.

The study finds that consumers are truly invested in the social dimensions of the products and services that they spend their money on. For example, 82% of consumers in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa were likely to recommend a company that they found supports a social cause.

Business leaders increasingly recognize the urgency behind social issues

In Latin America, 86% of consumers believe that companies should contribute to improving society. The majority of consumers polled felt positively about companies that made an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and human rights positions.

It is not just expectations from consumers that have made companies adhere to a relatively new array of societal and environmental standards. In the EU, for example, companies are required to adhere to a set of regulations aimed at ensuring supply chains respect human rights, among other environmental regulations. An EU law targeting products linked to deforestation is at the intersection of both social and environmental concerns.

Consumers are increasingly interested in the social dimensions of the products and services that they purchase

Bain & Company’s report showed that businesses with more robust social ethos are reaping the benefits – they lead versus their peers across a range of categories, including revenue, growth, customer attraction, raising capital, and attracting new talent.

An important (but often overlooked) component of a responsible social agenda is a focus on human resources. Investing in training – whether reskilling or upskilling – can make a huge difference, especially in industries like the energy sector, where a transition to sustainability will bring big changes for workers.

Companies say social performance drives better business outcomes in several ways

Setting ESG goals has become increasingly important in business practices, reflecting a growing awareness of the economic and ethical impacts of sustainability. However, amidst this drive for responsible practices, organizations should be weary of ‘greenwashing’, which pushes superficial appearances over genuine commitment to meaningful ESG initiatives.

previous study showed that around 80% of business leaders in Europe are concerned about the environment. That concern is undoubtedly shared by a large number of consumers and shareholders as well.