Business leaders, and society in general, are moving from considering a business’s interest completely
focused on its traditional shareholders to having a significant impact on more stakeholders, including
society as a whole. Of chief executives surveyed, 74 percent note they have changed perspective on
the role of their leadership in the past five years.
Top UN SDG* areas of concern among chief executives
To address these concerns, chief executives are working to ensure their businesses make a positive impact, creating jobs and prosperity for people and teaching/mentoring others. Younger generation respondents, who are more likely not to lead businesses yet, are more focused on their efforts to have a positive difference in their actions overall and to reduce wasteful consumption of the environment. Further, chief executives are focusing their efforts on business and not politics. Political action ranked 10th in a list of efforts.
Chief executives cite government regulations and taxation along with shortages of capital funding and labor as the most important obstacles. Younger generation respondents cite corruption as the leading obstacle and believe chief executives are not interested in doing more to have positive impact. For them, these obstacles precede the effects of adverse government regulations on business. There is a large opportunity for leaders to better communicate their intentions and actions to the younger generation. Just one percent of chief executives say they are not interested in seeking greater impact through business, while 32 percent of younger generation respondents believe business leaders are not interested in doing more. They also perceive corruption as a larger problem than those leading businesses today.
There remains a great opportunity for public and private collaboration. All countries desire greater economic growth and more jobs, and business leaders seek greater positive impact through their businesses. The alignment in intention can realize greater outcomes with more communication and collaboration regarding government regulations, taxation and education.
* United Nations Sustainable Development Goals