WSJ Intelligence’s global survey included 352 CEOs of large corporations representing ten major industries across fifteen countries. The CEOs surveyed were asked about their corporation’s role in society, their social-impact strategies, the stakeholders involved, and how those strategies were affected by the pandemic. This survey also examined the CEOs’ confidence in a range of new and emerging technologies, and how those innovations might help the world to tackle enormous social challenges, such as the global supply chain, the future of work, and health and well-being.
Key findings of the survey are listed below.
- 56 percent of respondents believe corporations generate value by earning profits in a sustainable way that includes minimizing harm to society.
- 80 percent of stakeholder-centric executives say they pursue parallel financial and community outcomes, and see social-impact strategies as essential to financial returns.
- Technology powers the tools and opportunities to tackle social issues, but can also disrupt social stability through the rapid spread of false or misleading information.
- Cybersecurity is the only technology that a majority of executives consider fully adequate for their social-impact strategy; however, adoption of cybersecurity technologies is not fast enough or sufficiently complete yet.
- High-performance communications networks, followed by cloud computing and advanced analytics, are identified by CEOs as promising technologies with which to address social issues.
As the world continues to combat COVID-19 and plan for recovery, digital technology and social-impact programs will help to create the new normal. The recovery from COVID-19 presents every organization with the opportunity to think in new ways and accelerate digital transformation.