Report: Sustainability is a top 10 priority for CEOs this year

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A recent survey of CEOs and senior executives by Gartner, Inc. revealed significant shifts in their thinking regarding people, purpose, prices and productivity in 2022, specifically on matters of sustainability, workforce issues and inflation.

Among the key findings, artificial intelligence (AI) is now reported as the most impactful new technology among CEOs for the third year in a row. Conversely, 63% of CEOs see the metaverse as either not applicable or very unlikely to be a key technology for their business.

Additionally, for the first time in the history of the survey, CEOs placed environmental sustainability in their top 10 strategic business priorities, coming in at 8th place. Nearly three-quarters of CEOs agreed that increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts attracts investors toward their companies. Sustainability also appears as a competitive differentiator for CEOs in 2022 and 2023, on the same level as brand trust among respondents.

CEOS' Top 10 Strategic Business Priority Areas for 2022-2023. In order: growth; tech-related; workforce; corporate; financial; products and services; customer; environmental sustainability; cost; sales.

Workforce issues, such as talent retention, moved up in priority for CEOs for the second year in a row, only slightly behind technology-related issues such as digitalization and cybersecurity, and significantly ahead of financial issues such as profitability and cash flow.

Regarding inflation, 62% of CEOs see general price inflation as a persistent or long-term issue. Their top response to inflation is to raise prices (51% of respondents), rather than responding with productivity and efficiency (22% of respondents).

Overall, CEO perspectives shifted significantly in 2022, impacted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic and more recently the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, CEOs’ digital business ambition continues to rise, unabated by the pandemic and related crises.

The annual Gartner 2022 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey was conducted between July 2021 through December 2021 among over 400 CEOs and other senior business executives in North America, EMEA and APAC across different industries, revenue and company sizes.

Read the full report by Gartner.

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