Modern business is at an inflection point. Executives now have an unprecedented mandate to move beyond the traditional metrics of business success, to results tied to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues. Liberated from a singular focus on financial results, executives must now focus business investments, energy and reporting into driving positive change.
Yet, according to recent Economist Impact research supported by Cognizant, while business leaders recognize the importance of ESG and the sea change in opinion from a wide range of stakeholders, a gulf is emerging between sentiment and tangible action (to learn more, see our report, Ready for Anything: What it Means to be a Modern Business).
The ESG imperative is clear
If one thing is certain, executive sentiment for the importance of ESG is riding high. Nine out of 10 respondents agreed that environmental sustainability is an integral part of being a future-ready business, and a similar proportion recognizes the importance of both social responsibility and workforce diversity and inclusion (see Figure 1).
How important are the following to being a modern business today?
Respondents were asked to rate each topic on its importance to being a modern business. (Percentage of respondents advising a topic is either somewhat or very important)