CEOs see ESG investment as part of sustainable long-term growth

Most CEOs are optimistic about their organisation’s growth prospects as they define the focus of their ESG investments.
By: | October 9, 2023

CEOs around the world are continuing to prioritise Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) as a key component of their business, by taking a more outcomes-based approach to ESG efforts while remaining pragmatic about the external environment.

According to the latest edition of the KPMG CEO Outlook 2023, over a third of CEOs (36%) have changed the language they use to refer to ESG both internally and externally as they become more specific about each aspect of the acronym and concentrating investments where they can create the most impact.

In the Asia-Pacific region, 40% of CEOs are choosing to focus their ESG investments on governance and transparency protocols, such as best practice reporting. On the contrary, less attention is now paid to social and community programmes.

In Singapore, some of the challenges CEOs face when it comes to achieving net-zero or similar climate ambitions include the lack of internal governance and controls to take on those goals, with 40% of respondents ranking this as a top obstacle. 32% of CEOs identified higher costs and difficulty in raising funds as obstacles to meeting ESG goals.

READ MORE: How organisations can develop their next-generation leaders

KPMG CEO Outlook 2023 surveyed 1,325 CEOs in 11 key markets across a wide range of industries, with 77% forecasting growth for their businesses this year. While many CEOs are positioning for growth through building workforce skills and capabilities, senior leaders remain divided over the hybrid work debate.

Globally, 64% of CEOs seem to be ready to close the door on remote work and have thrown their support around returning to pre-pandemic ways of working. In contrast, slightly less than half of CEOs in Singapore (48%) predict a full return to the office within the next three years.