In new research from PwC, 65 percent of next generation (NextGen) family business members say achieving business growth is a top priority. At the same time, nearly the same number, 64 percent, say their family business has the opportunity to lead the way in sustainable business practices. More than half, 55 percent, believe their family business puts sustainability at the heart of everything they do, while 71 percent recognize their business has a responsibility to fight climate change and its related consequences.
PwC’s Global NextGen Survey 2022 surveyed more than one thousand NextGen members in family businesses across 68 countries globally to understand their key priorities and challenges. While NextGens clearly see sustainable business practices as integral to long-term success, the survey shows they may need to step up their engagement in the near term. Areas where NextGens say they are actively engaged at present include achieving business growth (59 percent), ensuring the business is offering the right products and services (50 percent) and adopting new technologies (44 percent). Only 28 percent say they are currently engaged in increasing the focus on sustainability and impact, though 72 percent say they expect to be involved in it in the future. Similarly, just a quarter of NextGens say they are presently engaged in reducing their business’ environmental impact, where 65 percent expect to be in the future.
PwC also recently surveyed the current generation of family business owners, and while they see eye to eye with NextGens in a lot of areas, there are some notable differences. Both generations are focused on growth, but only half of the current generation believe their business has a responsibility to fight climate change and its consequences, compared to the nearly three-quarters of NextGens. A similarly high percentage of NextGens (76 percent) believes their business is actively contributing to the community, again compared to just over half (54 percent) of the current generation. There is also a bit of a digital divide between the generations. Similar percentages, 42 percent of NextGens and 38 percent of the current generation believe their business has strong digital capabilities, but a third of NextGens say the current generation does not fully understand the opportunities and risks for digital within their business.