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NTT: CEOs Say People and the Planet Are Becoming More Important in Business

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WSJ Intelligence undertook a new international CEO survey for global technology and business solution provider NTT. The survey focuses on the role of business in contributing to societal goals.

WSJ Intelligence conducted a survey of 351 CEOs of large corporations representing ten key industries in 15 countries to understand their views on their organization’s role in society, social impact strategies, the stakeholders involved, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has driven these strategies.

The research confirms that post-pandemic people and the planet rather than solely profit are becoming increasingly important for organizations of all sizes. While this trend was evident before March 2020, the pandemic brought it to the forefront.

The latest research considers, too, how organizations better support employee wellbeing and change management. It uncovers the most valuable tools and tips for social purpose implementation while also analyzing the most significant challenges.

Key Findings:

  • 94% agree that “The pandemic has heightened expectations that large corporations will serve the interests of all stakeholders and not just shareholders.”
  • 79% of executives acknowledge the increased importance placed on employee health and wellbeing in the past two years.
  • 77% of respondents agree that employee engagement is equally as essential as profitability when driving performance outcomes.
  • 64% of business leaders surveyed say they have a well-established purpose set out in a formal mission statement.
  • 61% of respondents are moving toward social purpose by generating value through sustainable profits while minimizing harm.
  • 54% of respondents say they have established hybrid working—WFH versus office—schedules
  • 53% of respondents said cybersecurity is the most important technology tool for social purpose implementation, with 44% citing artificial intelligence (AI) as the second most important tool.

Post-pandemic, people and the planet rather than solely profit are becoming increasingly important for organizations of all sizes, and digital technologies will play a central role in creating a ‘new normal.’ A large majority of CEOs surveyed say that the pandemic has increased the importance of social purpose and given prominence to those who lead with purpose.

Business leaders acknowledge that staff need support during this period of significant change, and organizations that fail to act run the risk of losing their competitive advantage. Most respondents highlight the substantial positive impacts on financial and non-financial business outcomes.

About This Research

This research was conducted in June/July 2021 among CEOs across 15 countries, who participated in an online survey that considers how organizations better support employee wellbeing and change management and highlights the importance of improved internal and external communication. It uncovers the most valuable tools and tips for social purpose implementation while also analyzing the most significant challenges. The respondents represent companies operating in 10 major industries; about one-quarter of these organizations report annual revenues of US$10 billion or more, and approximately one-third generate between $500 million and $1 billion. The survey asked CEOs about how they viewed their organization’s role in society, social impact strategies, stakeholders involved, and how these strategies have been impacted—and driven—by the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey follows a similar one conducted in 2020, entitled Building Back with Purpose, enabling assessment of emerging trends. Read the latest research, please download the white paper.

About WSJ Intelligence

WSJ Intelligence, a unit of The Wall Street Journal's advertising department, conducts bespoke and secondary research for brands and client brands of The Wall Street Journal | Barron's Group. Through rigorous analysis, WSJ Intelligence provides insights that are relevant, timely, and reliable. The Wall Street Journal news organization was not involved in the creation of this content.

About NTT

NTT believes in contributing to society through our business operations. We help people, clients and communities move confidently into the digital future and shape a better world. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data center and networks. As a top-five global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse team of over 300,000 people operates in 80-plus countries and regions and delivers services to over 190 of them.

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Contact information

The Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group
Jackie Hunter
+44 (0)7827 283826
jackie.hunter@wsjbarrons.com

Yuzo Aramaki
Senior Manager
Press Relations of NTT Corporation
Email: ntt-pr@ntt.com

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