Business leaders in the UK and the US are shifting their organisations’ corporate social responsibilities focus onto cyber security and data protection over the next three years, as protecting personal data becomes a higher priority concern for businesses in the wake of increased cyber-attacks and data breaches since the pandemic.
Our ESG Pulse Report polled 200 senior decision makers at public and private companies in the UK and US markets about their views on the importance of ESG issues, responsibilities and collaboration. Here are some key findings.
Social responsibilities have been organisations’ highest ranking ESG focus over the past two years, with three-quarters of business opinion leaders saying their focus on social responsibility increased significantly in that period (76% for social issues versus 72% for governance and 73% for environmental responsibility). Nearly eight in ten executives (78%) report that their company’s focus on social issues will increase further over the coming three years.
Cyber security jumps up the ESG agenda
The report found that while less than one in three executives (31%) felt their organisation has outperformed its peers on data protection and cyber security over the past two years, these issues have jumped right up the social responsibilities agenda to be a key concern for 42% of businesses over the next three years, second only to health and safety.
Health and safety continue to be a major focus post-pandemic
Six in ten (59%) executives feel they have outperformed their peers on health and safety issues over the past two years, reflecting the need for businesses to demonstrate a commitment to health and safety as a priority during the pandemic. Over half (52%) of business leaders continue to place it as a priority social responsibility over the next three years.
Inclusivity and gender diversity remain a lower priority
While some business leaders feel their organisations have outperformed their peers on gender diversity (32%) and inclusivity (22%) over the past two years, these issues haven’t moved up the ESG agenda to become priority focus going forwards. Gender diversity will be an increased focus for only one in three business leaders (32%) and Inclusivity will be an increased focus for just 27% in the UK and the US over the next three years.
Craig Clay, president of Global Capital Markets at DFIN, commented: “Social responsibility has become a key focus for businesses over the past two years, as they have navigated the pandemic and its direct impact on the health and safety of their stakeholders. While many business leaders feel confident in their progress on their health and safety social responsibilities, there will be a shift to much greater focus on issues around cyber security and data protection in the next couple of years.
“Our Pulse ESG report provides ESG decision makers with insights about current and future trends in the ESG market to help them develop their plans and strategies across social responsibility, environmental responsibility and governance. By placing increased focus on ESG initiatives, embedding secure processes and providing effective reporting to stakeholders, businesses can build trust and strengthen their organisation’s reputation.”
Access the full DFIN ESG Pulse Report here.
DFIN is a leading global risk and compliance solutions company. We provide domain expertise, enterprise software and data analytics for every stage of our clients' business and investment lifecycles. Markets fluctuate, regulations evolve, technology advances, and through it all, DFIN delivers confidence with the right solutions in moments that matter. Learn about DFIN's end-to-end risk and compliance solutions online at www.DFINsolutions.com or you can also follow us on Twitter @DFINSolutions or on LinkedIn.