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Global CEO concerns are shifting and their future focus is…

Occasionally I see a conference presentation that is so important and so clear, I just want to ask the presenter more and more questions. The standout session at Contentive’s recent Treasury Leaders Summit was the presentation by Lord Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, and was one of those. His presentation 'Through the Fog: what really matters in the age of uncertainty' covered a wide range of topics including what global CEOs are worrying about. 

Concerns of global CEOs

He used this chart from PwC’s Global CEO Survey to show what is happening:

To underline his main point that where the world is going is that:

  • “Negotiations on economic and trade issues will be driven by competition. We can expect intensified conflict over issues such as international macroeconomic coordination, financial regulatory reform, trade policy, and climate change.”

Climate change worries are going to increase because, as The New York Times reports today, that: “Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are growing at an accelerating pace this year, researchers said Wednesday, putting the world on track to face some of the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected.”

Adopting sustainability throughout is the only option

Malloch-Brown, who advises CEOs around the world, was asked “What would you say to a CEO of a global corporation who asked you “What is the single thing I should concentrate on?” He replied: “You need to break down what is going on in your world and do two things :

  1. In any global business, you need to understand what the impact on your supply chain of climate change, and politics and trade wars. I recommended setting up your own dashboard of the risks and their impact. 
  2. Look at the issues in the societies you serve as to where you can contribute. Invest in sustainable models of doing business. The top three companies where graduates want to work are Unilever, Google, Facebook, because they are adopting sustainable business models and stressing social contribution of the business.

CTMfile take: Sustainability, in all its many different facets, really is becoming more important than growth.

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