New research published by Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, shows that 60% of companies in Ireland have made progress on their attention on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives in their organisation, compared with 12 months ago.
The findings come as part of Ibec’s annual CEO Survey, capturing the perspectives and predictions of CEOs on the major business issues. Responding to a series of questions on the year ahead and beyond, the findings provide key insights from business leaders on what they believe the business landscape will look like in 2022 and what this means for business planning.
Commenting on the ESG findings within the report, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said, “over the last number of years there has been a growing movement among Ibec members, and indeed business globally, to consider the impact of their operations, not just in terms of maximising returns but in generating returns in a way which balances economic, environmental, social and governance goals.”
“From the survey findings, we can see the initial efforts in this movement. Within 65% of organisations there is work underway on the prioritisation of ESG across the business, 53% were engaged in preparing for ESG reporting and 53% in developing activities to manage organisations energy use.”
“In addition, 47% of companies stated that employee health and wellbeing is fully embedded within their organisation. Communication on employer values to employees (39%), activities to support local community (37%) and activities to support employee diversity and inclusion (35%) are other key areas where significant work has already been completed.”
“While much work remains, these are encouraging early signs and we look forward to working closely with business to further strengthen and develop their ESG ambitions.”
The survey also revealed the top areas of focus for CEOs in 2022. Unsurprisingly, given the expected increase in employee numbers in the next year, the availability of specific skills/talent remains one of the key business challenges for organisations into 2022. The top five key challenges identified by CEOs were:
• Availability of specific skills/talent (60%)
• Input cost inflation (56%)
• Labour cost pressures (52%)
• Maintaining profit margins (50%)
• Supply chain disruption (39%)
In terms of the minor challenges expected, the impact of Covid-19 on innovation and collaboration was identified in 56% of respondent organisations. The low carbon transition agenda was a minor challenge in 51% of organisations and maintaining the organisations own profitability a minor challenge in 47% of organisations.
Almost nine out of ten (88%) respondents expect the cost of doing business to increase in 2022. Three out of five expect an increase in demand for their goods/services, with a similar proportion (58%) expecting to increase employee numbers.