Delivering on purpose

Key stakeholders — from customers to institutional investors expect companies to have a positive impact on a range of areas, from fighting climate change to driving diversity. But a common challenge with purpose is how CEOs can turn it from a statement of intent to real actions by executing on their high-level commitments. Focusing on a bold ESG program can help identify key opportunities and challenges and allow them to demonstrate how they can deliver on their purpose.

ESG is a critical business priority

78 per cent CEOs in India stated that it is their response to the pandemic’s second wave that has caused their focus to shift towards the social component of their ESG program. This is significantly down from 96 per cent in March this year and much lower compared to CEOs globally at 81 per cent. Guided by purpose in their business decisions, 34 per cent CEOs in India mentioned that they intend to reward and incentivise their employees.

Comparison of rewards and incentives

Co-creating a net-zero future

CEOs in India want to build synergies in their quest to mitigate the impact of climate change. And the focus is more on garnering indigenous support rather than an international push. Our study shows that 79 per cent CEOs in India (higher than global counterparts at 77 per cent) believe that government stimulus is required to turbo charge climate investments being made by the business community.

At the same time, (61 per cent CEOs in India) are not banking much on world leaders at COP26* to inject the necessary urgency in the climate change agenda.

Even as 42 per cent CEOs in the country are seeing demand from stakeholders – such as investors, regulators and customers – for increased reporting and transparency on ESG issues today, 50 per cent CEOs in India have said that they are struggling to articulate a compelling ESG story.

Influence of purpose on decision-making

Overall, 66 per cent of CEOs in India say that their principal objective is to embed their purpose into everything they do to create long-term value for all their stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and communities.

When asked about company reputation being closely tied to having a trusted CEO, and how willing would they be to take the following actions to demonstrate personal integrity: 50 per cent CEOs in India in August 2021, significantly more than in August 2020 at 18 per cent said that they are willing to link the pay of the senior team with trust and reputation metrics. For CEOs globally this number stood at 61 per cent in August 2021.

Comparison of intended actions to demonstrate personal integrity

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