Canadians do not believe businesses are doing enough to address the societal challenges of our time, from the climate emergency to income inequality, and want more engagement from their corporate leaders, a new survey concludes.
More than half of respondents, at 56%, say businesses aren’t doing enough to combat climate change, while 49% and 48% respectively say more work needs to be done to re-kill workers and to tackle economic inequality, The Canadian Press reports.
The latest in a series of yearly reports from global public relations giant Edelman comes as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and inflation continues to rise, while the labour market shows signs of shifting in employees’ favour rather than the entities they work for.
The 2022 survey also revealed that 50% of respondents think it is imperative, even mandatory, for CEOs to help shape conversations and policies around job creation and economic growth, CP says. The same percentage of respondents feel the same about wage inequality.
Edelman Canada President and CEO Lisa Kimmel said there is an expectation that business leaders engage more and take on the role of societal leader, rather than acting as corporate leaders only.
“It’s not about just simply delivering strong quarterly financial earnings anymore,” Kimmel said. “What made for a successful leader historically may not cut it today based on the expectations that stakeholders have of business leaders.”
The data is part of the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual online survey examining the trust society has in business, government, non-governmental organizations, and media. The latest research was conducted last November 1 to 24 and included 1,500 Canadians.
The survey also included perspective from institutional investors around environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. Nearly all the respondents—88%—said they subject companies to the same scrutiny on ESG as operational and financial considerations, although news coverage as recent as last week has pointed to serious gaps in the way ESG is measured and reported that have left lots of space for a “great climate backslide”.
The original version of this report was first published by The Canadian Press on February 16, 2022.